Sleep disorders: when insomnia becomes a pathology and the tests to be done

Sleep disorders: when insomnia becomes a pathology and the tests to be done

This episode of "Daily Health Pills" shows us which tests to do in case of severe insomnia

Severe insomnia is a sleep disorder that must always be addressed together with the doctor. It must therefore be specified that insomnia that happens every now and then, linked to some particular reason for stress, or anxieties, as in this period, due to the pandemic can be addressed with simple remedies: for example with the classic chamomile in the evening or with drugs self-medication, as long as it lasts for a few days.

On the other hand, when insomnia takes on the characteristics of a real pathology, some specialist examinations can be carried out at sleep medicine centers.


Polysomnography is a fundamental technique for diagnosing sleep disorders, because it allows you to record the electrical activity of the brain during rest. It is done through electrodes that are placed on the skull and lasts several hours. It is a sort of rest electroencephalogram and allows you to create the hypnogram, which is a graphic representation of the stages of sleep.

When it is necessary to evaluate only the quality and structure of sleep, a few registered electrodes are used, these increase when it is necessary to check whether the brain has an altered electrical activity also due to other pathologies, such as in the case of epilepsy.

Another test that may be useful is wrist actigraphy, which is used in severe forms of insomnia to find out if uncontrolled movements are made during sleep. The recording instrument has the shape of a normal watch and is placed on the arm. It is able to record body movements and memorize them for up to a week. Also, remember if there is light in the room and if the body temperature follows the normal daily variations, because when the sleep phase begins, the temperature tends to drop. In addition, the patient is asked to fill in a daily diary.

Finally, we remember the multiple sleep latency test: the exam measures the tendency to fall asleep during waking hours and is often used to understand how much insomnia affects everyday life. It is carried out in a dark room so that the patient can take a 20-minute nap. The test is repeated every two hours, offering a significant data on sleepiness.

To follow the Daily Health Pill "Tests for Sleep Disorders", click and listen here

“Daily Health Pills” is Tipsforwomens TakeCare's podcast series, curated by Federico Mereta. In each episode we talk about prevention, care and good habits.

Tag: Insomnia

Category: Health
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