If your doctor suspects that you may have a sleep disorder, such as sleep apnea, they may recommend that you visit a sleep clinic. The specialists at these clinics will be able to help diagnose the issue that is affecting you so that a treatment plan can be developed. A common method of doing this is to schedule a sleep study. The following guide can help you know what to expect so you can prepare for the study.
What to expect
Your medical team will fill you in on what to expect during your study, but generally, you will sleep in a private room where you will be monitored by equipment as well as by a technician. Usually you will have neurotransmitters attached to help monitor your brain activity during sleep. You may also be hooked up to other diagnostic machines, such as heart monitors, breath measurement devices, and electrodes to measure body movements. The technician will not be in the room with you. Instead, they will monitor you from outside the room, but you will be able to communicate if needed via an intercom. This is very similar to what you would expect during any hospital stay.
A common point of concern amongst participants is that they will be unable to sleep. Fortunately, in most cases, if you can remain in the bed, then you will likely sleep a little. You may not get as much sleep or even as deep of sleep as you would at home, but the sleep you are able to manage should be enough to provide the readings necessary for the doctors to make a diagnosis and develop an initial treatment plan.
To help ensure you do get some sleep during the study, avoid sleeping in or taking naps on the day of the study. You don't want to short change your sleep, but you should avoid any additional sleep. Generally, you are able to wear your own pajamas as well as bring in anything else you normally have when sleeping, whether this is a special pillow or a book before bed. Food isn't usually provided, so you will need to eat before arriving. You should also bring your medications and any sleep devices you may already be using, such as a CPAP machine.
After the study is complete, you will go home. Your doctor should call within a few days with the results and to schedule a followup appointment to go over them. Contact sleep clinics like Elkview General Hospital if you have more questions.