Once you have Scheduled a Sleep Study

Once you have Scheduled a Sleep Study

The sleep Evaluation

What to Expect when scheduled for a Home Sleep Apnea test

What to expect the night of the sleep study at a facility (polysomnogram)

    • Arriving at the sleep center
    • What to bring
    • Your sleeping room
    • Clothing for sleep
    • Testing your sleep
    • Will you sleep
    • Problems during the night
    • Getting to the bathroom
    • The morning
    • Special needs

Test results


The Sleep Evaluation


An evaluation will include a review of your history by a

sleep physician or provider (nurse practitioner or

physician’s assistant).  The appointment for review of

your sleep problem will typically be scheduled during

the day. You should allow adequate time for this

appointment and the facility should give you an estimate

of how long it will take.  Be prepared to fill out

questionnaires regarding personal, financial,

medications, past medical history and details of the sleep

problem.  When you sleep, how long you sleep,

awakenings are among the questions that will be asked.  

During this visit often you will watch a video describing

the sleep study process.  You should take this

opportunity to discuss your sleep problem with the

physician and learn what to expect regarding testing,

results review and possible treatments.


Once this review is completed, the appropriate sleep

testing will be scheduled if needed.


What to expect when scheduled for a Home Sleep Apnea Study


Home sleep apnea studies are performed by the

individual in their home and not in the sleep center.  At

the time of your daytime appointment, you will meet a

sleep technologist who will describe the process to you. 

You will be instructed in how to put on the testing

equipment at bedtime, how to turn it on, what to do

when you awake during the night, how to turn it off and

when to return the unit.


What to expect the night of the sleep study at a facility (Polysomnogram)

Arriving at The Sleep Center

You will be asked to arrive at the sleep center at an

appointed time the night of your scheduled sleep study.

Usually there will be several individuals undergoing

testing on the same night. The appointment times are

designed to have all the persons being tested ready to

start the testing at bedtime. When you arrive at night,

each facility will have procedures to follow at the front

door for entry. Accredited testing facilities are usually

secure and safe.


The facility may be difficult to find in the dark. It is best

to locate it during daylight so that it will be easier to find

on your night of study.


What to Bring

Be prepared for the sleep technologist to ask for a list of

the medications you took that day. Bring your usual

bedtime medications, unless a physician has told you not

to take them for the sleep study. If you are not sure if you

should take your usual medications, contact your

physician or the facility. Bring all toiletries you may need

the night of the sleep study and the next morning. If you

would like to bring a snack, ask your facility.  They might

have a refrigerator where the sleep technician can store

your food. If you were given paperwork to fill out before

your sleep study, bring it with you.


Your Sleeping Room

Sleep technologists will greet you and show you to your

bedroom. They will explain the steps you will be going

through during the night and allow you to get settled.  

Each sleep technologist is responsible for two patients

each night. While there are multiple patient rooms, it is

unlikely you will see or be seen by any other patients

outside of the lobby area.  Each testing room will have

similar beds, furnishings and decor.


The sleep technologist will monitor your test from the

control room and will only enter your bedroom when it

is necessary. The staff will view your test measurements

on computer monitors, your activities with an infrared

camera system, and your snoring and spoken words with

a voice monitor.


Clothing for Sleep

For your sleep study, you should wear comfortable sleep

clothing. Fabrics that are slick, such as satin or silk

should not be worn because they will make it difficult for

the belts to remain on your chest and abdomen.

Temperatures at sleep centers are usually cool. Cotton

shirt, pants, shorts, etc. are all appropriate.


Testing Your Sleep

The sleep test 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.


Will you sleep?

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.


If you are concerned and have trouble going to sleep,

before the day of the test speak with your physician or

the facility’s staff. It may be possible to be prescribed a

mild sleeping aid (pill) for you on the night of your test.


Problems During the night

If you have problems with the sensors, the temperature

of the bedroom, or if you just want to ask the sleep

technologist a question during the night, it is easy to

notify the technologist. You simply speak aloud and ask

your questions. The technicians will hear your request(s)

and respond appropriately and in a timely manner.


Getting to the bathroom

If you need to use the restroom during the night of your

sleep study, it is not a problem. Upon waking up and

realizing that you must use the restroom, you simply

need to speak aloud and say, “I need to use the

restroom.” The sleep technologist can hear you and will

come into the room. All the wires that will be attached to

you plug into one small box that the technologist will

unplug for you. You are then free to use the restroom

alone. When you are finished, the sleep technologist will

plug the box back in and you can return to sleep.


The Morning

The sleep technologist will wake you and end the test the

next morning. It takes approximately 10 minutes for the

technologist to remove the electrodes. After this is

complete, you will be asked to answer some questions

about your night’s sleep. Then you are free to go. You will

have paste from monitors in your hair that will come out

with warm water and shampoo.  Most facilities have a

shower available for you to use if you must get ready for

work at the facility. You should bring your own shampoo

and conditioner if you wish to shower there.


Special needs

Problems with confusion, incontinence, and arthritis or

other disabilities can usually be accommodated.  It is

very important to discuss these issues with the facility

before the day of the test so that arrangements can be

made for any change in staff or testing required.


Test results


A tremendous amount of information is gathered during

a polysomnogram. It is a significant task to review the

measurements and calculate the results. The data from

the test is usually ready for the sleep physician’s review

one or two business days following the test. The

physician who reviews the test will dictate a report of

their interpretation of your results. This dictation will be

typed for the sleep physician and the referring

physician(s). This process takes one to three days for

most physicians to complete. However, it is dependent

upon the physician’s time and availability.


It is best to not expect completed results from your

physician for at least five working days after your test. 

Your facility will be able to give you an estimate of when

the results will be available and who will review the

results with you.


Updated June 2022

back to top