Sleep Study

Patient Prep:  There is no prep required for Sleep Studies.  Please bring everything you normal use/wear at bed time, and a morning change of clothes.  Also please remember to bring any nightly or morning medications.  

Appointment times start at 9:00pm and go until 6:00am

 What To Expect During a Sleep Study

Sleep studies are painless. The polysomnogram (PSG), multiple sleep latency test (MSLT), and maintenance of wakefulness test (MWT) are done at our sleep center.

The room the sleep study is done in looks like a hotel room. A technician makes the room comfortable for you and sets the temperature to your liking.

Most of your contact at our sleep center will be with technicians. They can answer any additional questions about the test itself you may have. 

During a Diagnostic Polysomnogram (PSG)

Sticky patches with sensors called electrodes are placed on your scalp, face, chest, limbs, and a finger. While you sleep, these sensors record your brain activity, eye movements, heart rate and rhythm, blood pressure, and the amount of oxygen in your blood.

Elastic belts are placed around your chest and belly. They measure chest movements and the strength and duration of inhaled and exhaled breaths.

Wires attached to the sensors transmit the data to a computer in the next room. The wires are very thin and flexible. They are bundled together so they don't restrict movement, disrupt your sleep, or cause other discomfort.

If you have signs of sleep apnea, you may have a Split-Night Sleep Study . During the first half of the night, the technician records your sleep patterns. At the start of the second half of the night, he or she wakes you to fit a CPAP (continuous positive airway pressure) mask over your nose and/or mouth.

A small machine gently blows air through the mask. This creates mild pressure that keeps your airway open while you sleep.

The technician checks how you sleep with the CPAP machine. He or she adjusts the flow of air through the mask to find the setting that's right for you.

At the end of the PSG, the technician removes the sensors. If you're having a daytime sleep study, such as an MSLT, some of the sensors might be left on for that test.

Parents usually are required to spend the night with their child during the child's PSG.

During a Multiple Sleep Latency Test (MSLT)

The MSLT is a daytime sleep study that's usually done after a PSG. This test often involves sensors placed on your scalp, face, and chin. These sensors record brain activity and eye movements. They show various stages of sleep and how long it takes you to fall asleep. Sometimes your breathing is checked during an MSLT.

A technician in another room watches these recordings as you sleep. He or she fixes any problems that occur with the recordings.

About 2 hours after you wake from the PSG, you're asked to relax and try to fall asleep in a dark, quiet room. The test is repeated four or five times throughout the day. This is because your ability to fall asleep changes throughout the day.

You get 2-hour breaks between tests. You need to stay awake during the breaks.

The MSLT records whether you fall asleep during the test and what types and stages of sleep you have. Sleep has two basic types: rapid eye movement (REM) and non-REM. Non-REM sleep has three distinct stages. REM sleep and the three stages of non-REM sleep occur in regular cycles throughout the night.

The types and stages of sleep you have during the day can help your doctor diagnose sleep disorders such as narcolepsy, idiopathic hypersomnia, and other sleep disorders that cause daytime tiredness.

During a Maintenance of Wakefulness Test (MWT)

This sleep study usually is done the day after a PSG, and it takes most of the day. Sensors on your scalp, face, and chin are used to measure when you're awake and asleep.

You sit quietly on a chair in a comfortable position and look straight ahead. Then you simply try to stay awake for a period of time.

An MWT typically includes four trials lasting about 40 minutes each. If you fall asleep, the technician will wake you after about 90 seconds. There usually are 2-hour breaks between trials. During these breaks, you can read, watch television, etc.

During a BiPAP/CPAP Titration

Your doctor may recommend a sleep study if he or she suspects you are suffering from obstructive sleep apnea, since this can help provide a more accurate diagnosis.

Obstructive sleep apnea is a common condition that involves breathing problems during sleep, as the throat muscles relax and block the airway. Patients with obstructive sleep apnea often experience loud snoring, daytime sleepiness, morning headaches, insomnia and waking up with a sore throat. This condition can affect anyone, but is most common in older adults.

A technician will handle all of the preparation and equipment for your test. 

Whichever device you are given is connected to a mask that is placed over the mouth, the nose or both. It will automatically titrate, or adjust the amount of air pressure needed to breathe during sleep without causing apnea. For accurate test results, you must sleep for at least two hours on the night of your sleep testing. The machinery will record your brain waves, heart rate, oxygen level and muscle movements.

The next morning, the polysomnogram is over.  You will go home and discuss the results at your next appointment with your doctor.  Once the results have been interpreted, your doctor can create a customized treatment plan for your individual condition.