Polysomnography is the study of sleep, particularly as it relates to sleep disorders. A polysomnographic sleep technologist is a person who helps administer sleep studies and tests to individuals who have complained of some sleep disorder, in order to properly diagnose and treat that problem. Occasionally, research scientists will also use the services of polysomnographic sleep techs to assist in conducting broader sleep studies with research volunteers.
In either role, the sleep technologist's job is to properly hook up all monitoring equipment to the subject. These devices typically take the form of electrodes, which are attached to the subject's head, torso, and extremities. Then, utilizing various monitoring systems, the polysomnographic tech will record data, as it relates to the sleep patterns of the patient. Because some sleep disorders can cause serious, secondary complications, it is of vital importance that a polysomnographic technologist vigilantly monitors all vital signs of the patient or subject during the study. For example, sleep apnea may cause a brief hesitation to respiration or heart rates. The technologist must be able to recognize the onset of this condition immediately and be certified in cardiopulmonary resuscitation or the use of defibrillators.
Becoming a polysomnographic sleep technologist typically requires earning an associate's degree in some discipline related to the study of sleep disorders. Most jurisdictions also require technologists to hold certifications within this field and to keep such licenses up-to-date via continuing education. Because of the nature of this work, many polysomnographic sleep technologists work at night, normally in a hospital or a laboratory.
Polysomnographic Sleep Technologist Tasks
Operate equipment to record sleep and awake physiology readings of patient.
File polysomnogram studies and reports, order supplies and maintain equipment.
Prepare and analyze readings for interpretation by a physician.
Monitor patient respiration, heart and brain activity during procedure.