How do you test for sleep deprivation

EEG - electroencephalogram

The electroencephalogram measures the electrical activity of the brain, much like the EKG (electrocardiogram) records the electrical activity of the heart. A hood is put on the patient, by means of which the electrodes can be placed on certain points on the scalp. The examination is completely painless and can be repeated as often as you like. The gel, which ensures good contact between the measuring electrodes and the scalp, does indeed contaminate the hair, but can be washed out without any problems.

The measurement results of the EEG are recorded on an ink pen on paper or electronically. The curves of healthy people show a very characteristic pattern.

Deviations from this pattern provide the doctor with important information about certain diseases or allow their cause to be identified. An EEG is therefore often carried out for the following diseases: epilepsy, headache, inflammation of the brain, fainting spells, to monitor the progress of patients receiving psychotropic drugs.

Depending on which curve or which pattern changes, i.e. in which brain region the electrical activity is disturbed, this allows a conclusion to be drawn, e.g. whether there is a blockage of blood vessels or a tumor, a change in intracranial pressure or an inflammation and more. During an EEG, which usually lasts around 20 minutes, you will usually lie on a couch with your eyes closed or open. The nurse will tell you when to open or close your eyes.

You may also be asked to do certain activities in order to be able to recognize pathological changes under stress conditions. For example, it may be necessary that you breathe in and out deeply, that your reactions to flickering light are examined or that an EEG is carried out with simultaneous sleep deprivation (sleep deprivation EEG). Simultaneous video recording may also be necessary. They allow a change in the curve to be assigned to a specific event during the measurement in terms of time.

With the sleep EEG, an EEG is recorded at the same time as you sleep and the muscle activity, eye movements and, if necessary, other activities are logged. The examination takes place in the so-called "sleep laboratory", which has the necessary technical equipment or is equipped with modern, ambulatory devices for sleep diagnostics. Indications exist in the case of sleep disorders, sleep epilepsy, sleep apnea syndrome (seizure occurrence of breathing stops lasting a few seconds during the night).

Sleep deprivation EEG: Epileptic changes in the EEG in particular often cannot be detected in a normal EEG. In such cases a stress test must be carried out. For example, seizure features can be provoked by sleep deprivation in the EEG, which can then be detected in a so-called sleep deprivation EEG. To get a sleep deprivation EEG, you must stay awake for a full day and night (24 hours). This works best if you are busy doing something that requires concentration, e.g. handicrafts, ironing, cleaning, etc. Alcohol, tea, coffee and cigarette smoking should be avoided during this period.

The next morning, an EEG is carried out in the practice while falling asleep and waking up for about 20-30 minutes. This is the time when the brain is most sensitive, and convulsive-specific currents are most likely to be detectable.

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