Sleep Study FAQs

Below is a list of some of the most common questions we receive regarding a Sleep Study.

Sleep Study Frequently Asked Questions


What Is A Polysomnogram

A polysomnogram is a test that measures bodily functions during sleep. The test will consist of one night in the sleep lab and a MSLT. It is common for a second night of testing to also occur. Although each test will vary depending upon the individual case, recordings are usually made of brain waves, heartbeat, eye movements, muscle tension, leg movement, breathing, and oxygen levels. These measurements are recorded through the painless application of sensors on the surface of the skin and with cloth bands placed around the chest and stomach. Since the sensors are placed on the skin and scalp, we ask that all patients bathe and shampoo before coming for their study. Do not use hair spray, hair oils, or braid your hair, prior to the test.

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How Can I Sleep With All These Things On Me?

Surprisingly, most people sleep very well. The body sensors are applied so that you can turn and move during sleep. Generally, you will not be aware that you are wearing the devices after they have been on for a short time. Our staff tries to make the environment as comfortable as possible. Many patients report that they actually sleep better at the Sleep Lab than at home.

Sometimes, for various reasons, patients do not get a very good night sleep in the sleep lab. If you plan to drive yourself to the hospital the night of the test, please be aware of this and plan to have someone available to drive you home in the morning if you are to sleepy to drive.

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Will The Sensor Devices Hurt?

No. Sometimes, in rubbing the skin or putting on the finger device, there are mild and temporary skin irritations. You may also feel a sensation of warmth where the oxygen - measuring device contacts your skin. However, these do not generally cause any significant discomfort.

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Will I Be Given A Drug To Help Me Sleep?

It is possible the sleep specialist will order a medication to help you relax. Continue to take all medication prescribed by your doctor. Bring any medication from home that you need to take while a patient in the lab. It is also important not to consume any alcohol or caffeinated beverages on the day of the testing.

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What Is A Multiple Sleep Latency Test (MSLT)?

Patients also participate in daytime testing immediately following the night study, which consists of five, 20-minute naps given every two hours during the day. During this test, we will ask that you try to sleep even though you may not feel very sleepy and that you remain awake between the nap periods. After your all night polysomnogram, you will probably stay for a MSLT. Please be prepared for this. Please ask if you have any questions about this.

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What Is A Maintenance Of Wakefulness Test (MWT)?

Some patients may participate in another form of daytime testing immediately following the night study. This consists of four "stay-awake" opportunities. These opportunities are spaced two hours apart, and are approximately 40 minutes long. The patient is asked to relax in a darkened room, but to stay awake during this time. The patient may not use excess stimuli to stay awake, i.e. no bouncing of legs, no slapping of the face, etc.

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What Should I Bring?

You should bring the following:

We provide towels and bedding, and there are wash and toilet facilities.

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Is This Test Covered By Insurance?

For most patients, it is covered at least in part by their respective policies. However, each patient should check with his or her policy or insurance company in case of doubt. The lab is always willing to provide companies with definitions, indications, and information pertaining to your study. Many companies require pre-approval for these tests. If this is the case, your primary physician will need to forward the necessary information to your insurance company to get pre-approval.

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What Happens To The Polysomnogram?

A physician specialist of the Sleep Disorders Lab interprets the information from the study. The results will be discussed with your primary physician and treatment recommended. A final report will be forwarded to your referring physician.

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How Do I Get Evaluated For Possible Sleep Apnea?

There are a number of ways a person can be evaluated. A person needs to start by seeing his or her primary care physician. The primary care doctor may refer a person directly to the sleep lab, as long as an adequate health history is provided. The primary care physician may choose to refer a person to the sleep specialist for evaluation, and from there a person may be sent to a sleep lab.

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What Does The Process Of Being Set-Up For A Sleep Study Look Like?

This patient is being set up with the lead wires necessary to complete a polysomnogram.

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If you have any questions or problems regarding the scheduling process, please call and talk with one of our sleep technologists at 920 433-7451 or send us an e-mail at

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