Malaysian Sleep Study: What You Need to Know

sleep study Malaysia

Malaysian Sleep Study: What You Need to Know

Malaysian Sleep Study: What You Need to Know

By Island Hospital | Apr 5, 2024 12:00:00 PM

Are you struggling with sleepless nights and poor sleep quality? A sleep study could be the solution to your problems.

Sleep studies are used to diagnose sleep disorders such as sleep apnea and restless leg syndrome. These tests can be conducted at a hospital, sleep lab or in the comfort of your own home.

They assist doctors in understanding and providing effective treatments for your condition.

In conjunction with World Sleep Day, let’s delve into this complete guide to sleep studies. We’ll discuss the significance, process, and results of these tests.

What is a sleep study?

A sleep study or polysomnogram (PSG) is a painless, overnight exam that monitors your sleep.

Sleep studies are used to diagnose sleep disorders. Sleep studies are also used to assess the efficacy and patient’s response to the prescribed treatment for sleep disorders.

A sleep study will measure aspects such as brain activity, eye movements, oxygen levels in blood, heart rate, breathing, snoring and body movements.

For example, during sleep, an EEG tracks the sleep stages and the cycles of REM and non-REM (NREM) sleep throughout the night, aiming to detect any potential disruptions in sleeping patterns.

Here’s a recap of the basic recordings during a sleep study:

  • Electroencephalography (EEG): To measure brain waves and detect abnormalities in brain activity.
  • Electrooculogram (EOG): To record eye movements, helping to identify rapid eye movement (REM) and track sleep cycles.
  • Electromyography (EMG): To record muscle activity to assess muscle tone and detect movement-related sleep disorders.
  • Electrocardiogram (ECG): To record electrical activity of the heart to assess heart rate and rhythm during sleep.
  • Respiratory Monitoring: To measure and record airflow, breathing patterns and blood oxygen level.
  • Video Recordings: To capture visual footage of the individual during sleep, providing additional context and behavioural observations.
  • Snore Microphone / Audio Recordings: To record snoring activity.

Polysomnogram – The placement of various sensors on the patient’s body (Source: ResearchGate).

Who needs a sleep study?

If you experience any of the following symptoms, your doctor may recommend a sleep study:

  • Excessive snoring
  • Daytime tiredness
  • Difficulty falling and / or staying asleep
  • Morning headaches
  • Waking up early and unable to fall asleep again

Depression and a lack of concentration may also be signs for you to get a sleep study.

What can be diagnosed?

As mentioned earlier, a sleep study can diagnose sleep disorders. Early diagnosis is crucial for timely treatment and prevention.

Individuals with conditions such as hypertension and diabetes should be screened earlier as they are at increased risk for Obstructive Sleep Apnea (OSA).

Untreated sleep disordered breathing is related to potential life-threatening medical conditions such as cardiovascular, neurocognitive and metabolic disorders and their complications.

Sleep studies are used to diagnose a variety of sleep-related conditions such as:

Sleep DisorderDetails
Sleep apneaA disorder that disrupts breathing during sleep. It causes loud snoring, frequent awakening with choking and gasping for air.
InsomniaA disorder that makes it difficult to fall and stay asleep at night.
NarcolepsyA disorder that causes extreme tiredness in the daytime, despite enough sleep. It causes one to suddenly fall asleep during the day.
Restless leg syndromeA disorder that causes uncomfortable sensations in the legs and a strong urge to move them when sitting or lying down.

Sleep Study Procedure

Preparation for a Sleep Study

Before the sleep study, inform your doctor of your medication and supplement intake. Your doctor will recommend which ones you should or should not continue taking during the study period.

Examples of medicines include antihypertensive medicine, oral hypoglycemic agents (OHA), and insulin.

Prior to the test, you are not allowed to take sedatives, caffeine (e.g., coffee, carbonated drinks, tea, chocolate) and alcohol. You are also advised against smoking and vaping.

However, there are special circumstances which allow for the use of sedatives, so do consult your doctor for further information.

You should also avoid taking naps before the study, as it may interfere with your ability to fall asleep.

If you are doing an in-lab study, bring appropriate and comfortable sleepwear to the study. You may also bring your book and favourite pillow to help you fall asleep.

In-Lab Sleep Study

In-lab sleep studies are done in a hospital or sleep lab. Your testing will be done in a patient bedroom, where your sleep will be monitored throughout the night. Steps for an in-lab sleep study are described below:

Step 1: Registration for admission.

Step 2: Orientation provided by a sleep technician.

Step 3: Preparation for the test.

    • During this stage, removable sensors are placed on your head and body.
    • These sensors record physiological parameters such as brain activity, eye movement, heart rate, breathing effort and rate, oxygen levels and muscle movements.

Step 4: The sleep study proceeds for at least 6 hours.

Step 5: Discharge the following day.

Step 6: Data scoring and analysis conducted by a sleep technician.

Step 7: Interpretation and validation of results by medical professionals.

Your doctor will inform you of the results and any further steps. If the results are invalid, you may need to retake the sleep study (Repeat steps 1 to 7).

At-Home Sleep Study

An at-home sleep study is less comprehensive than an in-lab study as it involves less sensors. It typically only tracks breathing effort, airflow, snoring and oxygen saturation. The procedure for an at-home sleep study is as follows:

Step 1: Schedule an appointment with your healthcare provider.

    • As a prescription is needed for an at-home sleep study test, consult and meet with your provider.

Step 2: Pick up your at-home sleep test kit.

    • Hospital / Sleep lab staff will provide you with portable equipment and detailed instructions about the test.

Step 3: Undergo the test.

    • Follow the instructions to put on the sensors.
    • Sleep and wake up at your usual times.

Step 4: Return the equipment.

    • Return the sleep study equipment to the hospital / sleep lab for analysis.

Step 5: Wait for results and consultation.

    • After data have been analyzed and interpreted, your doctor or ENT specialist will discuss the results with you.

Although at-home sleep studies are insightful, it is advisable not to solely depend on their results when diagnosing sleep disorders.

This is due to the limitations of these studies, such as potential inaccuracies and inability to measure certain parameters effectively.

Discuss with your doctor to see if an at-home sleep study is right for you.

Sleep Study Results

The following sleep-related data will be presented:

    • The time spent in each sleep stage
    • The frequency of waking up
    • Breathing abnormalities (Whether you stop / have trouble breathing)
    • Absence / Presence of snoring
    • Body position
    • Limb movements
    • Abnormal brain activity patterns
    • Other unusual behaviours (e.g., sleep talking, sleep walking)

For an in-lab sleep study, hundreds of pages of data are generated for analysis. Therefore, it may take one to two weeks after the sleep study date to receive your results.

The data will be scored by a qualified sleep technologist and interpreted by a physician with expertise in clinical sleep physiology.

For an at-home sleep study, your healthcare provider will review the data collected.

If the data reveals that you have a sleep disorder, your provider will contact you and schedule further testing or treatments based on the results.

As the results provided by at-home sleep studies can be limited, an in-lab sleep study may be recommended for a comprehensive understanding of your sleep health.

Schedule an Appointment with Island Hospital

Island Hospital houses a team of experienced Ear, Nose, and Throat (ENT) specialists. We provide diagnosis, evaluation and treatment of a wide spectrum of disorders affecting the ears, nose and throat, as well as conditions impacting the head and neck.

We offer comprehensive sleep studies aimed at diagnosing sleep disorders. Our consultant ENT surgeons and consultant respiratory physicians then provide tailored treatments for the identified sleep-related disorders.

Our centre ensures a quality and comfortable experience throughout the entire process.

Schedule an appointment with Island Hospital today!

Island Hospital
Based on 1214 reviews
powered by Google
Dy AppDy App
11:35 11 Mar 24
19:45 09 Mar 24
came here all the way from indo to cure my tumorthe doctor and nurses is super nice and very informative, and imo the service is quite fastthe nurses inside the operating room and ward is also nice and helpfulthankyou so much Prof. Dr. Wong Twee Juat for your help, i’m very much healthy by now!oh and p.s every food in their canteen taste very good!
Wulan's LifeWulan's Life
21:24 08 Mar 24
Private hospital in Penang
Man MannMan Mann
05:16 07 Mar 24
Cindy PriscillaCindy Priscilla
02:26 23 Feb 24
Had issues with the queue before, actually I don't mind but I'm so sorry once again to Island Hospital! Actually they really good doing their things! The information that they gave are really good. Got this compliments from them
Adhil ArshathAdhil Arshath
04:01 18 Jan 24
One of the most important and highly reputed hospital 🏥 in Penang Island and GEORGETOWN area which is situated on the city center connected with so many residential areas and commerical aspects nearby. Coming to the point and highlights of the hospital is 1.Service is Good enough but the waiting time of doctors appointment is to be taken longer and half of the day will be gone each time to Visit this place2. Such a spacious area of each floor to be separated with clear board signs to be reached easily to the place we have to go3. The most important and good thing is For the child care they allotted one full floor and set up with the children's playing area on the third floor to avoid the disappointment of waiting a long time to meet the doctor. Mrs. Jayanthi Carens looking for my wife which gives good 😊👍 kind of service on medication with each time clearly explanation of baby growth.4. Good Lab set-up with little fast service for blood test on time .5. Cafeterias are available at the ground floor with spacious seatings at the end of the hospital.6. Car Parkings are available separately for the Out patients on the separate parking 🅿️ building for four floors each time we can get easily to the car park but it's little congested during many cars inside. TNG wallet entry at the entrance and exit ,so better we carry the TNG Card each time whenever you visit the hospital.7. The biggest let down of this hospital is frustrated waiting time it kills the total day by waiting itself . So better you can go early to avoid long waiting times especially for the kid's doctor.8. Finally I wished to mention about the location situated of this hospital was fabulous 😍 and beautiful greenish natural surroundings of tree's atmosphere of hilly view.9.Over-all Good experiences with quite unhappy long waiting time .
Carolyn OngCarolyn Ong
02:21 01 Nov 23
Very attentive staffs/ nurses in the I-Health clinic. The spacious and comfortable waiting area makes the waiting time very well pampered with attentive staffs handling the procedure step by step and keep our waiting time very minimal for the entire full package medical check up… they also try their best to assist the report to be ready within short period of time. last but not least is the attending staff - Ms Tan xxx Chan ( sorry can’t remember her full name) who attended my consultation for the check up package, additional service for helping me to do registrations for my other doctor follow up.. overall experience with Island Hospital health screening team is superb 👏👏👏


Are sleep studies worth doing?

Yes, sleep studies are worth doing for diagnosing and treating sleep disorders so that sleep quality can be improved, ultimately enhancing general health and well-being.

Can I do a sleep study on my own?

Sleep studies can be done at home with instructions and specialized portable equipment provided by medical professionals. Be sure to consult your doctor whether it’s the best option for you.

At what age can you do a sleep study?

Sleep studies can be done at any age, from paediatric to elderly age group.

What if you can’t fall asleep during a sleep study?

If you can’t fall asleep, the technician may provide assistance or reschedule the test. However, this rarely happens as medical professionals state that even two hours of sleep is sufficient for the study.

Can I use my phone / watch TV during a sleep study?

It’s generally best to avoid phone use or watching TV during a sleep study to ensure accurate results.

What are the warning signs of sleep apnea?

Warning signs of sleep apnea include loud snoring, daytime tiredness, pauses in breathing while sleeping and waking up gasping or choking.