When you arrive at the sleep center, you will be asked prior to your sleep study to complete a questionnaire on your daytime activity. Then, you will be asked to change into your sleeping clothes, and the technician will provide additional information about the sleep study or specific disorders. The Tech will also address what you should expect during the sleep test to ease any anxieties or fears that you may have.
While the Tech is providing additional information, he or she will connect you to the electrodes that will monitor you throughout the night. The electrodes are placed in specific areas and applied with water-soluble glue and tape. The electrodes record brain waves, muscle movement, rapid eye movement (REM), and limb movement. A nasal cannula monitors airflow, a microphone records snoring, and two belt-like straps around the chest and lower abdomen monitor muscle movement during breathing.
During your sleep study:
You will sleep in your own private room. We have attempted to make the surroundings as comfortable as possible. If you have a particular pillow or blanket that you find comfortable to sleep with, please feel free to bring it with you for you sleep study. You may read in bed or in the waiting area prior to the start of the sleep study or if you have difficulty getting to sleep.
You will be able to sleep in any position, turn over in bed and get up to use the bathroom. You may feel strange at first with the electrodes on you skin, however, most people do not find them an obstacle to falling asleep. The sleep specialist recognizes that you may not sleep in the lab exactly as you do at home, but in most cases this does not cause a problem in obtaining the necessary information from your study. The Tech encourages patients to inform them if something is uncomfortable so that it can be fixed to help you sleep better.
After settling into bed, your technician will go to a monitoring room and ask you over an intercom to perform certain tasks that will indicate that the electrodes are working properly. After all equipment has been checked the lights will be turned off and you will be able to go to sleep.
Once you fall asleep:
Your physical sleep will be recorded. Although sleep is a time of rest, some of the body systems are actually more active during sleep than when awake. Many parts of the brain control and influence the different stages of sleep. These sleep stages include drowsiness (stage 1 sleep), light sleep (stage 2), deep sleep (slow wave sleep), and rapid eye movement sleep (REM sleep - the sleep stage of greater dream awareness). We can tell which stage of sleep a person is in by measuring different activities of the brain and body. These activities include brain waves, eye movements, and muscle tone.
The morning after your sleep study:
You will be awakened in the morning and the electrodes will be removed. If you would like to take a shower, private shower facilities are available. At the end of the appointment you will be asked to complete a questionnaire concerning your sleep that night. Then you are free to leave.
Based on the results of your sleep study you will be provided with appropriate treatment specific to your sleep disorder. Someone will contact you to give you your results and to provide you with additional instructions regarding your care. In most cases there may need to be a follow-up appointment to discuss your results and recommendations for treatment.