Sleep Services
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What to Expect During your Sleep Study

What should I bring?

Prepare yourself for your night in the sleep laboratory as if you were going to spend the night in a hotel. This should include: all medications, your pajamas, toothbrush, books to read, etc. If you wish you may bring your own pillow. You will not need to bring an alarm clock, as the technician will wake you in the morning. Please keep in mind that cell phones and pagers should be turned off so as not to disrupt your study or another patient's study.

What happens when I get there?

You will check in at the facility and proceed to the Sleep Center where you will be greeted by a sleep technician. You will be asked to change into your nightclothes and prepare for bed. A technician will begin to apply various sensors and electrodes for your sleep study.

What is a sleep study?

A sleep study, or polysomnogram, is similar to an EEG or ECG study, and is recording 16 different parameters of your body for the entire time you are asleep. This test is not invasive; the electrodes are resting on the skin attached by a special adhesive or medical tape. The test will begin at night and last through the morning, as would a normal night of sleep.

What do the sensors tell the sleep technician?

From the electrodes that are placed on different points on the body, the computer receiving the information will monitor various body movements throughout the night. These include the following:


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Why is it necessary to record so many different things?

Your brain and your body function very differently during sleep than during the day. Even if your heart, breathing, and brain activity are completely normal during the day they may be different or abnormal during sleep. The only way to determine the degree of the sleep problem is to take a variety of measurements.

How can I possibly sleep with all those things attached to me?

Almost every patient who comes for a sleep study asks this question. However, most patients find it is not as bad as it sounds. After the sensors have been in place for a few minutes you don't even notice they are there. Most patients report having a normal night's sleep.

Can I sleep in my usual position and can I turn over?

All electrodes and sensors are attached so they will not come off during sleep. You will able to sleep as you do at home, and turn over as usual.

Will you give me any medication to help me sleep?

No, this might change your sleep and prevent us from identifying the source of your sleep problem. However, you may take whatever medication you usually take before bedtime. Just be sure to tell the technician what you are taking.

What happens if I need to go to the bathroom during the night?

All the electrodes and sensors are connected to a small portable box. The box is simply unplugged and the patient is able to get up and walk around as usual. This is an easy process and can be done in a few seconds.

Will anyone else be in the sleep laboratory when I am there?

A technician will greet you when you arrive at the Sleep Center and show you to your room. A member of our technical staff will be present and awake in the control room all night long. The sleep rooms have an intercom that is left on all night. You may call the technician at any time by simply speaking. There may be other patients having sleep studies in their own rooms.


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When can I leave?

Usually the technician will wake you between 5-6am. If you need to be up earlier, please notify the technician. The technician will remove all the leads and sensors. After completing a short questionnaire you are free to leave. Many patients bring their clothing for the next day and leave directly for work or other daily activities.

What is an MSLT?

Some patients are scheduled to stay through the next day for daytime test, or Multiple Sleep Latency Test. This test monitors your daytime functioning. When you awaken in the morning from your sleep study, the technician will remove the respiration monitors and leg electrodes but will leave the head and EKG electrodes attached. These will stay on all day. At two-hour intervals beginning at 8:00am, you will be asked to lie down in bed and take a short nap. These naps will continue throughout the day at the following intervals 10am, 12pm and 2pm and 4pm. When each nap is over, you will be asked questions about your sleep, and evaluate how tired or alert you feel. Between the napping periods, you will be able to watch television, read, etc. but you will not be allowed to lie down or take additional naps. After the last nap, the technician will remove the electrodes and you will be allowed to leave sometime around 5pm.

How and when do I get the results?

All sleep studies contain 800 or more pages of data that must be analyzed and interpreted. Analyzing a sleep study is a time consuming process. Each page of the recording is examined for sleep stage, breathing abnormalities, cardiac arrhythmias, movements, arousals, as well as many other variables. Often the technician must review the same page of data several times to identify all the significant data. The fully analyzed data is then reviewed by a certified sleep specialist who will provide an interpretation (what the results actually mean). This information is entered into the final sleep study report and prepared for your doctor. This process usually takes approximately 7 working days. Results will be faxed to the physician who ordered your sleep study. You will need to follow up with your physician to obtain the results of the test.

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