Diagnosis and Treatment of Sleep Disorders

At Emory Healthdcare we use the most sophisticated and technologically advanced diagnostic tools available to diagnose patients with sleep disorders. These include:


A polysomnogram records information about an individual’s sleep. Sensors are gently attached to a patient’s body which obtain, while the patient sleeps, a continuous recording of brain waves, eye movements, muscle tone, and oxygen levels in the blood, heart rate and rhythm, leg and body movements, sounds made while sleeping, breathing effort, and airflow through the nose and mouth. If other disorders are suspected, additional information is recorded.

The recording is painless, however patients with sensitive skin may notice mild irritation from the sensor adhesive. This equipment can be disconnected during the night, to enable a patient to get out of bed or use the bathroom.

A polysomnogram generally takes place during an overnight stay in the Sleep Center. If you routinely sleep during the day or evenings, your testing hours can be customized with advanced planning. Each of the Sleep Center’s bedrooms are private with an adjoining private bathroom and shower, and patients are monitored from an adjacent control room by an experienced sleep technologist.

Positive Airway Pressure (PAP) Titration Study

If Polysomnography testing shows that an individual demonstrates sleep apnea, a PAP titration study will be ordered to initiate treatment. If the sleep apnea is severe, this may take place during the first overnight sleep study. Otherwise, the individual will need to return for a second all-night sleep study before starting CPAP (Continuous Positive Airway Pressure) therapy.

During the titration study, as the patient sleeps using the CPAP machine, the sleep technologist will record data including the patient’s breathing and make adjustment to the CPAP machine during the night. These adjustments do not require the technologist to awaken the patient. The technologist will use this information to find the level of air pressure that keeps the  airway open and helps the patient to  breathe easily and to reduce the number of times breathing stops to allow better and safer sleep.

Multiple Sleep Latency Test (MSLT)

The MSLT is the standard way to quantify sleepiness and diagnose disorders of excessive sleepiness. Generally used to evaluate for Narcolepsy, this type of polysomnogram is conducted after an overnight polysomnogram to investigate other possible causes of excessive sleepiness (e.g. sleep apnea or periodic limb movements during sleep) and to make sure the patient is not lacking REM (rapid eye movement) sleep. The MSLT begins one-and-a half to two hours after awakening in the morning, with the patient being encouraged to sleep five more times, once every two hours.

Multiple Wakefulness Test (MWT)

This polysomnogram is used to evaluate the ability to stay awake during the day. This is a variation of the MSLT, in which the patient is instructed to attempt to stay awake sitting up in bed, rather than napping, every two hours. MWT testing is available for testing required by the Dept. of Transportation, Federal Airway Administration, and as required by other organizations and employers.

For more information or to make an appointment, please call 404-712-7533

Did you Know?

The Emory Clinic Sleep Center is one of the country's leading diagnosis and treatment centers for all forms of sleep disorders.