An all-night sleep record helps physicians understand exactly what happens while you sleep. During the test, various measurements are recorded on a computer and on an instrument called a polygraph.
- Brain wave patterns
- Muscle tension levels
- Movements of eyes
- Amount of oxygen in your blood
- Amount of air you breathe in and out
- Movements of your chest, abdomen and legs
How is the sleep study performed?
The technician will escort you to your sleep room, where you change into your nightclothes. When you are ready, the technician will apply a number of measuring devices to your body and connect the wires to the polygraph unit. After some preliminary equipment checks, the technician will turn out the lights in your room and wish you a “good night.”
While in bed, you may adjust your sleeping position, but you will not be able to get up and walk around without assistance from the technician. If you need to get up during the night for any reason you must call the technician over the intercom to come into the sleep room and disconnect the main cable.
The sleep study will be completed by approximately 6 a.m. the following morning. The technician will awaken you and remove the measuring devices from your body. You can then wash or shower and get dressed.
Will it hurt?
The devices used during a sleep study do not pierce the skin or draw blood. Body functions are recorded by small metal discs that are either glued or taped to your skin. A probe is attached to your finger or earlobe to measure oxygen levels in your blood. A special monitoring device placed adjacent to your mouth and nose records the amount of airflow you experience. Every effort will be made to make these devices fit as comfortably as possible. The measurements from these devices are very important to help us with your sleep problem.
Why participate in a sleep study?
Sleep studies are performed for a variety of reasons such as:
- Suspected sleep apnea (the periodic cessation of breathing)
- Excessive sleepiness
- Loud, intermittent snoring (usually resulting in the bed partner sleeping in another room)
- Unexplained morning headaches
- Chronic disturbed sleep (insomnia)
- Other unexplained sleep behavior (seizures, chest pain, sudden arousals)
How should I prepare for the test?
- Do not drink any coffee, tea, cola drinks, or eat chocolate after noon the day of your study. The caffeine in these products may interfere with your sleep that night. Decaffeinated coffee or soft drinks are fine.
- Do not take any naps during the day.
- Do not drink any alcoholic beverages the day of the study.
- Bring a list of all medications that you are taking, both prescribed and over the counter.
- If you take regular medications, please bring them with you and take them as scheduled. Your physician may arrange for you to discontinue any medications that may interfere with sleep or alter test results. If you are asked to stop taking medication it is important that you do so. However, do not discontinue any medications without first talking to your physician.
- Please take a shower and shampoo your hair on the day of your appointment. Clean skin and hair improve the quality of the sleep study recording. Please do not use any hair products following your shampoo.
- Men should shave in the late afternoon or evening for easier application of electrodes. It is not necessary to shave off a full beard if you have one.
- Please do not wear makeup the day of your appointment.
- Please complete the Sleep Services Questionnaire and mail it back to us in the provided postage-paid envelope prior to your study. The questionnaire provides very important information to the physician that assists in diagnosis and treatment recommendations.
- Please feel free to bring items that will assist you in going to sleep such as your pillow, robe, nightclothes, toilet articles and a snack.
What should I do after the study is complete?
The sleep study test results will be sent to your physician approximately 10 days after the study. Please schedule a follow-up appointment with the physician who ordered the study, unless otherwise indicated.