With every breath, we breathe oxygen in and carbon dioxide out. When we sleep, we breathe more shallowly, and less oxygen is breathed in and less carbon dioxide is breathed out. Teens and adults with Duchenne may have weaker breathing muscles, making them breathe even more shallow.
Additionally, as our throat muscles relax during the night, some of us snore. People with Duchenne might snore if they have large tongues or extra weight from taking prednisone or deflazacort. Snoring can also affect how much oxygen we breathe in and how much carbon dioxide we breathe out.
When you don’t breathe enough oxygen in, or you don’t breathe enough carbon dioxide out, your sleep is not restful. You may wake up many times during the night, be sleepy or nap during the day, wake up with morning headaches, or not do as well in school.
Tell your pulmonologist or another member of your neuromuscular team if you are having any of these symptoms. A “sleep study” will most likely be ordered.
Video: Nighttime Breathing
What is a sleep study?
Sleep studies are performed to observe your child while they sleep. The sleep technician in the sleep laboratory who is performing the sleep study will be able to tell how restful your child’s sleep is, along with how well they are breathing.
The sleep study will measure:
- How much oxygen you breathe in
- How much carbon dioxide you breathe out
- How easily you breathe in and how deep your breathing is
How to prepare for a sleep study
- On the day of the sleep study, keep your routine as normal as possible. For example, if you usually take a nap during the day, it is ok for you to take a nap the day of the study.
- You will be able to pack an overnight bag with anything that will you feel more comfortable such as: pajama sets, any special blanket or stuffed animal, books, snacks, or other favorite activities.
- Be sure to bring any medications you take at night and/or in the morning.
- Remember, a sleep study is not scary and it will not hurt!
What to expect
- You will be taken to a room where there is a bed for you to sleep in that night. Usually, there is some type of chair or cot besides the bed that your parent or care provider can stay in as well.
- You will have stickers attached to wires (electrodes) on your head, face, chest, arms, and legs. Belts will also be placed around the chest and stomach. All of these are connected to computers in the room. These allow the sleep technician to monitor brain waves, movements, oxygen levels, heart rate, and more.
- Your doctor who ordered the study will receive the results within a few weeks, and can give you the results.