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Normal arousal index?

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Old 04-24-2009, 12:19 PM   #1
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Dragon79 HB User
Normal arousal index?

Does anyone know what a normal range for the arousal index is? I just got the results from my sleep study, and only a few things were noted as a change from normal - REM latency quite prolonged (186 minutes), sleep efficiency mildy down, mild increase in light sleep, and some tendency to tachycardia. At the end it mentions that the arousal index was 15 per hour, and my neurologist (who ordered the sleep study) said it meant I slept like crap. What is a normal arousal index?

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Old 05-06-2009, 08:14 AM   #2
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tiredpoet HB User
Re: Normal arousal index?

I find this so interesting because I have suffered excessive daytime sleepiness for years with no explanation. My sleep study showed a REM latency of 216 minutes and an arousal index of 33/hr, and I was told this was "normal" and the result of something called "first night effect" which means that sleeping in a strange place caused my sleep to be disrupted. (Of course I find this explanation to be complete crap.)

I don't know what a normal arousal index is, but did they tell you what kind of arousals they were (i.e. spontaneous, respiratory related, etc?) I had an apnea index of 5.2 along with the arousal index of 33, and when I asked if the spontaneous arousals could actually be respiratory related (such as in Upper Airway Restriction Syndrome) the sleep doctor told me emphatically that, no, any respiratory related arousals would have been noted as such. (This was at a highly recommended accredited sleep lab, surprisingly).

What does your neurologist think your diagnosis might be? I would recommend reading up on UARS and other sleep disorders if you haven't already, and also try to find a board certified sleep physician to go over your results with you and help try to pinpoint the root cause of your sleep troubles.

Old 05-06-2009, 06:25 PM   #3
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Dragon79 HB User
Re: Normal arousal index?

Thanks for the response. I did some searching online and saw somewhere that less than 5 per hour is considered normal. I don't know how accurate that is, but I'm pretty sure 15-30+ isn't normal. Also, I know my results were not due to sleeping in a strange place because I slept better than I do at home! I only remember waking up 2-3 times that night, when normally it's more like 4-6 average.

My results say that there were 0 obstructive apneas, 2 central apneas, 7 hypopneas, and 5 respiratory effort related arousals. Since nothing else is mentioned, I'm guessing this means most of the 15 per hour were spontaneous arousals. I haven't read about UARS, but I'll look it up.

I find the conclusion to my study results somewhat amusing:
"Mild snoring. No significant sleep apnea/hypopnea. Weight control and attention to sleep hygeine advisable."

I weigh 108 pounds, I don't think weight is an issue. :P I go to bed at the same time every night, wake up around the same time every morning (even on weekends), leave plenty of time for my night time routine and getting sleepy. Falling asleep isn't the issue, it's staying asleep.

My neurologist was expecting to hear that I snore and have sleep apnea (due to often waking with a headache). Since that wasn't the result, he didn't really have anything more to say about it. I have been sleeping a little better in the past few weeks (I still wake up a lot, but I'm not as tired during the day). I went to my GP to ask her for something to help me sleep and we decided to start with mild and go with Vistaril, rather than jump to the heavy sleeping aids right away. If it stays bad though, I will consider seeing a sleep physician.

Old 01-06-2010, 08:37 AM   #4
Join Date: Jan 2010
Posts: 1
SleepMan33 HB User
Re: Normal arousal index?

Many sleep labs do not detect mild to moderate obstructive sleep apnea, which still requires treatment.

If you snore and your sleep study results were "normal" you should consider a second opinion from another sleep center. One way to find out if they know what they are doing is to ask the doctor if they score RERAs (respiratory effort related arousals) as part of their standard procedures and if they use a nasal pressure transducer to monitor airflow. If they don't, look elsewhere.

Bottom line: snoring is not good for you and usually has adverse sleep consequences, which can be detected if the sleep lab uses the right equipment and knows what to look for.

Best wishes!

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