What To Expect Before a Sleep Study



Before a sleep study, your doctor may ask you about your sleep habits and whether you feel well rested and alert during the day.

Your doctor also may ask you to keep a sleep diary. You'll record information such as when you went to bed, when you woke up, how many times you woke up during the night, and more.

You can find a sample sleep diary in the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute's "Your Guide to Healthy Sleep."


What To Bring With You



Depending on what type of sleep study you're having, you may need to bring:


  • Notes from your sleep diary. These notes may help your doctor.

  • Pajamas and a toothbrush for overnight sleep studies.

  • A book or something to do between testing periods if you're having a maintenance of wakefulness test (MWT) or multiple sleep latency test (MSLT).




 How To Prepare
Your doctor may advise you to stop or limit the use of tobacco, caffeine, and other stimulants before having a sleep study.

Your doctor also may ask whether you're taking any medicines. Make sure you tell your doctor about all of the medicines you're taking, including over-the-counter products. Some medicines can affect the sleep study results.


Your doctor also may ask about any allergies you have.


You should try to sleep well for 2 nights before having a sleep study. If you're being tested as a requirement for a transportation- or safety-related job, you might be asked to take a drug-screening test.


If you're going to have a home-based sleep test with a portable monitor, you'll need to visit a sleep center or your doctor's office to pick up the equipment. Your doctor or a technician will show you how to use the equipment.


You will have a private bedroom and complete bathroom facilities are available nearby. There is a television in the bedroom for those who like to watch TV before going to sleep. The recording equipment is continuously monitored in a separate room throughout the night, with a technician always available by intercom to assist you.

What to Expect During a Sleep Study


On the night of your sleep study, you will be assigned to a private bedroom in a sleep center or hospital. Near the bedroom will be a central monitoring area, where the technicians monitor sleeping patients.

You will be hooked up to equipment that may look uncomfortable. However, most patients fall asleep with little difficulty.

Equipment Used for a Sleep Study

During the sleep study, surface electrodes will be put on your face and scalp and will send recorded electrical signals to the measuring equipment. These signals, which are generated by your brain and muscle activity, are then recorded digitally. Belts will be placed around your chest and abdomen to measure your breathing. A bandage-like oximeter probe will be put on your finger to measure the amount of oxygen in your blood.


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