What to Expect During an In-Lab Sleep Study

by / / Tips

If you have been asked to undergo an in-lab sleep study, or polysomnogram, you may be a bit nervous about the procedure. The best way to beat those nerves is to find out exactly what to expect when it’s time for your study.

What Is a Sleep Study?

Sleep studies are a method of figuring out exactly what is causing your sleeping problems. By spending the night in the lab, our equipment will help us to better understand your sleeping habits, and what might be causing your issues. This method provides us with a much better picture of the problems you face while sleeping, as it allows us to see and record things that you may not even know occur while you sleep.

The Day of Your Visit

Your in-lab study will be scheduled in advance so you can plan your schedule accordingly. Most studies will require you to show up in the evening so you have plenty of time to get comfortable. You will be asked not to take naps, or drink alcohol or caffeinated beverages on the day of your study to make sure you are able to sleep that evening. In some cases, you may be asked not to take certain medications. However, if this is not requested, you should take your medications following your normal schedule.

Arriving for Your Appointment

Your polysomnogram will take place in a state of the art facility that is designed to provide you with all the comfort and relaxation you need for sleeping. Just as in a luxury hotel, each room has a private bathroom as well as Wi-Fi and digital television. You will be allowed to bring your own pajamas or comfortable clothes to sleep in, as well as slippers and your pillow. While you should plan to eat dinner prior to your arrival, you can bring a snack if you think you will need one.

During the Sleep Study

After you arrive at the lab, you will be asked to change into your sleeping attire. Once you are ready, technicians will begin preparing you for the study. Setup times vary depending on the reason for your study, but generally last around 45 minutes in most cases. For more serious sleep disorders such as seizures, setup can take up to two hours. The steps in the setup process are:

  • Your head will be measured, and the tech will make marks along your scalp.
  • The areas that are marked will be cleaned with a slightly abrasive cleaning paste that is designed to remove the oils from your skin in those areas.
  • Small electrodes will be attached to the cleaned areas using a paste that allows the electrodes to stick securely and conduct the energy from your brain waves to the monitoring equipment. The application process is painless, and all materials will wash off easily with soap and water after the study. Any wires will be gathered together and taped in place to provide more comfort during sleep.
  • Right before sleeping, a nasal cannula will be positioned under your nose to measure airflow during sleep.

If required for your study, other equipment will also be attached, including:

  • A small microphone to detect snoring
  • Pads that monitor your heart
  • Pads to monitor your movements during sleep
  • Cloth belts that measure and monitor breathing

After preparations, you will have to let the techs know when you are ready to go to sleep. While you sleep, all of the equipment will monitor and record movements and functions. When you awake in the morning, the equipment will be removed, and you are free to carry on with your day. The information from your study will be evaluated by a physician, who will develop a treatment that will work for your individual needs and type of sleeping disorder. Let the medical professionals at Sleep Rite help you start getting the rest you need, quickly and conveniently.