Sleep Test (Polysomnogram)

Sleep testing may be ordered for many reasons. Sleep test performed in a sleep testing facility are considered the standard for testing for sleep disorders. While apnea can be diagnosed with test performed by the individual at home, many problems with sleep can only be diagnosed with a polysomnogram (PSG).

The Test

The PSG is designed to measure sleep stages, breathing, body movements, heart function and oxygen levels. Measuring all of these functions is done with sensors that are placed on you. You may be the first patient to be hooked up to the equipment or follow someone else. This order is usually based on the time you normally go to sleep. You can expect the sleep technologist to spend between 30 and 45 minutes placing the sensors. Once you are connected to the monitors, you can go to sleep or read, watch TV, etc. until the test begins. The test will begin as close to your normal sleeping time as possible, but the center need to consider the time needed to complete the test. A minimum of six (6) hours of recording time is required.

The sleep technologist will explain the procedure of connecting you to the recording equipment. There will be wires pasted on your head, chin and legs. A small sensor will be placed under your nose and heart monitoring leads on your chest. You will be wearing belts on your chest and abdomen. You will have a conducting paste in your hair and on your face. This paste conducts signals from your body to the monitors and gives us the information to make the needed measurements.

Most people worry that they will not be able to sleep during the test. Will I sleep long enough? Will it be good enough sleep to get results? These worries are usually unnecessary. The vast majority of patients sleep long enough and well enough for the equipment to get adequate information about their sleep.

Many individuals will be found to have apnea early in a sleep test. If the amount of apnea reaches a predetermined number per hour early in the test, treatment with positive airway pressure will be attempted during the remained of the night. The study is split between the diagnostic study and a treatment study. (Split Night Sleep Study)

Page Fact – A polysomnogram is the most accurate sleep test available.

Updated January 2020