What happens during the overnight sleep study?

The sleep study usually begins in late evening and ends at about 6:00 AM the next morning.   Once you arrive at the sleep clinic for your scheduled study, a sleep technologist will welcome you and show you to your private bedroom.  

You may bring items you use for your bedtime routine, and you can sleep in your own nightclothes. The room where the sleep study is conducted is similar to a hotel room; it is dark and quiet during the sleep study. You don’t share the room with anyone else. The room has a video camera, so that the sleep technologist can see what’s happening in the room when the lights are out, and an audio system, so that he or she can talk to you and hear you from the monitoring area outside your room. 

After you change into your sleepwear and complete the paperwork, the sleep technologist will explain the procedure and what to expect during the night. The technician will prepare you for the study by placing electrodes and sensors on your head, chest, and legs to monitor your brain waves, heart activity, and body movements during sleep. The areas where the sensors will be attached are cleaned and the electrodes are attached with a mild adhesive, such as special gels, paste or tape. 

An elastic belt is also placed around your chest and abdomen to record respirations. Two thin wires are placed near your nose and mouth to record air flow during breathing. The oxygen content of your blood is measured non-invasively with a simple clip on your index finger. The electrodes and sensors are connected by wires to a small portable box on the nightstand that transmits signals to the sleep monitoring and recording equipment in the nearby control room where the sleep technologist monitors the recording. The wires from the electrodes and sensors to the portable box are long enough to let you move normally in bed.  

If the sleep study is a CPAP titration polysomnography, the technician will fit you with a CPAP mask and explain how the CPAP device works.

During the sleep study, every attempt is made to allow for a normal night’s sleep.  You wear your own sleepwear and can bring your favorite pillow, book or magazine.  Some people typically sleep better or worse when away from home, but in either case this does not usually affect the quality of the sleep study.

A trained sleep technologist is available to explain the procedure, operate the diagnostic equipment and is stationed all night in an adjacent control room to both monitor the sleep recording and ensure your comfort and well-being. If you need assistance, you can talk to him or her through the monitoring equipment. The technologist can come into the room to detach the wires if you need to get up during the night. 

Typically, we begin waking patients at 6:00 am, unless a later or earlier wake up time is desirable. Please keep in mind that the electrodes and sensors take approximately 20 minutes to remove. If someone is picking you up, please have him/her arrive no later than 6:30 AM. 



What if I need to cancel my appointment?

If you need to cancel or reschedule your appointment, please notify our office during normal business hours at least 24 hours prior to your appointment. By doing so, you will not incur a cancellation fee. However, if you do not cancel and you do not show up for your appointment, a cancellation fee of $150 may be billed to you for which you may be personally responsible.  Please bear in mind that for each overnight sleep study a private room is reserved for you and a sleep technologist is assigned to you, so costs are incurred in preparation for your sleep study.  Kindly call our office as far in advance as possible should you need to reschedule your appointment.


What if I am running late?

Please contact the sleep clinic directly and let us know of your approximate time of arrival. The sleep clinic will be securely locked after all patients have arrived for testing and will remain locked until the study concludes the following morning.


How should I prepare for my sleep study?

Please eat dinner prior to arriving for the sleep study. There will be no snacks allowed during the procedure. Avoid caffeinated products, including coffee, colas and chocolate after 12:00 noon on the day of the sleep study. It is also important to avoid napping on the day of the study. You may find that a shower before arriving at the sleep center will make you feel more relaxed. Please remove braids, hair weaves, and hair accessories such as clips and rubber bands. Wash and dry your hair and do not apply any hairspray, oils, gels, or make-up. Skin must be free of lotions and any other type of moisturizer. If you normally shave your face in the morning, please shave that afternoon or evening. If you have a beard, mustache or goatee, you do not need to shave it off. 

What should I bring to the sleep clinic?

There are a number of items that you should bring with you to your sleep study, including:

  • If you have not previously registered, you must show photo ID and insurance cards upon arrival.
  • Appropriate bedclothes. Patients are required to sleep in regular pajamas, not silk pajamas, T-shirts and shorts, or sweats. Nude sleeping is prohibited   Please wear loose, comfortable pajamas. For women, pajamas are preferred in lieu of nightgowns. It is recommended that patients bring a robe to wear when walking in the hallway during restroom breaks.
  • If you use a CPAP/Bilevel PAP device bring your current mask. 
  • Any medications you may need during the night of the study in the original medication container. Prescription and non-prescription medications are not dispensed at the sleep clinic.
  • Personal toiletries (toothpaste, toothbrush, comb, brush, shampoo, etc.), and a change of clothes for the next day. 
  • Reading material or movie to watch on a laptop.
  • Special pillow or white noise device if desired. 
  • No animals unless medically authorized.


Can I bring food/drinks to this appointment?

The sleep study bedrooms are a clinical environment where food and drink are not permitted during testing unless medically necessary for diabetic patients. If you have a medical necessity, please notify the sleep clinic prior to your appointment. All other patients should have their final meal of the day before arrival.


Who can stay with me?

Only patients are allowed in the building during the sleep study. For privacy and security reasons, family and friends are not allowed to stay the night unless they are the designated caregiver.


How will I be able to sleep with all of the electrodes and sensors attached to me?

The body sensors are applied in a manner that will allow you to turn and move during your sleep. Generally, you will not be aware that you are wearing the devices after they have been on for a short period of time. We will make every effort to ensure that you are as comfortable as possible. If a problem arises, talk to your sleep technologist. The bedroom has an open intercom that will enable you to communicate with your technologist at any time.


Will the electrodes and sensors cause any discomfort?

Sometimes, in preparing the sites for sensor application, there are mild temporary irritations; please inform us if you have any known sensitivity to particular tapes or if you have a latex allergy.


Can I take my usual medications?

All medications being taken should first be discussed with your physician before making an appointment for a sleep study. Certain medications, such as sleeping pills, stimulants, anti-histamines and drugs for anxiety and depression can interfere with the test results, and may need to be discontinued prior to the evaluation. However, unless instructed otherwise by your physician, you should continue to take all your medications on the day and night of the sleep study. 


Can I wear nail polish?

If you wear nail polish we might have to remove it from at least one finger to obtain a good signal from the oxygen sensor.


Can I smoke?

No smoking is allowed on the premises.


What happens after the sleep study?

 Once your sleep study is performed, a board-certified physician will interpret the results of your study usually within 48 hours. A detailed report of the sleep study will be compiled with treatment recommendations. At the follow-up appointment, the findings of your sleep study will be reviewed with you and a treatment plan discussed. Your doctor will continue to meet with you as needed to ensure that your sleep disorder is resolved.