So, you have troubles sleeping at night? Or perhaps you are excessively tired during the day? Did you doctor suggest getting a sleep study done?
While you might be concerned at the prospect of sleeping at a strange place with strangers watching over you, the actual process is quite simple. Let’s walk you step-by-step through what you can expect from a sleep study.
A sleep study, or polysomnogram, is the best way for doctors to discover just why you are not getting a good night’s sleep. If you have an issue with snoring, restless limbs, sleepwalking, bedwetting, night terrors, insomnia, or difficulty sleeping while on shift work, a polysomnogram will let the doctors see just why you are having difficulties, and make suggestions which can help relieve the problem.
There are five different types of sleep tests:
Diagnostic Overnight Polysomnogram Diagnostic Daytime Multiple Sleep Latency Test Diagnostic Daytime Multiple Wake Test Two Night Polysomnogram with CPAP Titration Split Night Polysomnogram with CPAP Titration
The type of test you get will depend on the specific issues you are facing.
You will be given a set of instructions by your doctor before your sleep test. These instructions let you know how you should prepare yourself for your visit. Patients are asked to refrain from drinking or taking any medications before the test. If you have prescription medicine that you usually take at night, bring it with you and ask if it will interfere with the testing. Always let your doctors know exactly what medications you are taking, including herbal remedies and vitamins.
Before heading to your sleep test, pack a small overnight bag. You will need your PJs, the clothing you plan to wear the following day, toiletries, shampoo and/or soap for a shower in the morning, and any books/magazines/music that you might want for entertainment before sleeping. If you are fussy about your pillow, it is a good idea to bring your own along for comfort. Be sure to avoid any caffeine or alcohol the day before your test, especially after noon. It is wise to take a shower before your appointment, but do not use any creams, moisturizers, perfumes, or other skin products. All make-up, nail polish, and fake nails should be removed as they can interfere with the testing equipment.
You may have already been asked to fill out a questionnaire before your appointment. If not, you will likely be asked to fill one out when you arrive. This will inform the doctors of your regular sleep habits and help them interpret your results.
At most sleep centers you will have a private suite which includes a bathroom with a shower, and, of course, the bedroom. There will be a central monitoring station which may monitor several rooms at once. When you arrive you will be given some time to get changed and become comfortable.
Once you are ready for bed the technicians will hook you up to a series of sensors. These electrodes read a variety of information which is later interpreted by your sleep doctor.