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Sleep technologists play a key role in the evaluation and follow-up care of patients with sleep disorders. They set up and monitor patients during overnight sleep studies. These sleep studies are called “polysomnograms.” A sleep technologist also may be called a “polysomnographic technologist.” During a sleep study, sensors and electrodes record a patient’s vital signs. These include:
- Brain waves
- Heart activity
- Oxygen levels
- Breathing effort
- Eye, chin and muscle movement
A sleep technologist works under the general supervision of a doctor who is a sleep specialist. The sleep technologist gathers all of the data recorded during a sleep study. Then the doctor interprets the sleep study results and makes a diagnosis. Sleep technologists also help patients begin using CPAP therapy. This is the treatment of choice for obstructive sleep apnea (OSA).
Sleep technologists work at a sleep disorders center. They often work the night shift to perform overnight sleep studies. Some patients also require a sleep study during the day. Veteran sleep technologists may become sleep center managers. Both managers and more experienced sleep technologists may work daytime hours.
Typical Path of Education
- High school diploma or General Educational Development (GED) credential
- Training program (CAAHEP or A-STEP) or associate’s degree
American Association of Sleep Technologists
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