What Can I Expect During an In-Lab Sleep Study for Sleep Apnea?

What Can I Expect During an In-Lab Sleep Study for Sleep Apnea?

February 1, 2024

If your doctor recommends a sleep study to check for sleep apnea, you may feel nervous about spending the night hooked up to machines in an unfamiliar sleep center. Knowing what to anticipate can help you prepare practically and mentally for the test. Here’s a walkthrough of what your overnight sleep apnea study might entail:

How is an overnight sleep study set up and scheduled?

After your doctor writes an order for a sleep study called a polysomnogram, staff will contact you to pre-register and schedule your appointment. Most sleep clinics aim to get you in for sleep apnea testing within a week or two for the fastest results. You’ll get verbal instructions over the phone and an email detailing how to prepare. This includes adjusting medications, avoiding alcohol, and more.

What happens when I arrive for my sleep apnea test?

Check-in times are usually between 7 pm and 10 pm. When you reach the sleep center near me, the staff will show you to your room and explain what will happen. After changing into comfy clothes, the technologist will place soft sensors on your skin and fit you with measurement devices for the study. They’ll ensure everything is transmitting signals properly to the monitoring computers.

What types of sensors and monitors are used during the study?

Many non-invasive devices track your sleep stages, breathing, oxygen levels, heart activity, and more. On your scalp and face, electroencephalogram (EEG) electrodes detect electrical activity in your brain. Other sensors go below your nose, around your chest, and at your side to quantitatively track respiration patterns. Finger oximeters also clip onto your fingertip. Voided urine samples may also be analyzed.

How do specialists monitor breathing interruptions at night?

The collection of monitors provides quantitative data on your breathing. Chest and abdominal movement detectors track if you fail to breathe adequately or stop breathing during sleep. Monitors also confirm if falling oxygen saturation matches symptoms of interrupted breathing. Specialists observe signals in real-time for the duration of sleep to compile detailed apnea data.

Can I bring items from home to make testing more comfortable?

You may bring pillows, blankets, a favorite snuggly stuffed animal, a white noise machine, and other comfort items. However, staff may have to adjust sensor positions and wires accordingly to prevent interference. You may also want headphones for soothing music or audiobooks to help you fall asleep for the study. Just clear any personal electronics with staff first.

How early in the morning does the sleep apnea test end?

Most sleep studies aim to record at least 6 hours of data, though collection may continue longer. Staff will gently wake you at the final point between 5 am and 6:30 am. They’ll remove equipment, and you can shower if desired before leaving the sleep clinic to start your day as usual. Total time at the facility often lasts 8 to 10 hours.

When will I get the sleep study results for the apnea diagnosis?

Specialists need time to interpret the complex data gathered, usually compiling a report within a week or two after your appointment. The supervising sleep medicine doctor will explain the findings at a follow-up consultation. They can recommend customized sleep apnea treatments near me if the study confirms an apnea diagnosis. Getting scheduled swiftly for your overnight study at a quality sleep center like Taylor Made Sleep facilitates faster results.

Reputable sleep labs understand that undergoing a polysomnogram can cause unease. They seek to provide clinical excellence in diagnostic testing and maximum comfort. Working with compassionate staff and technicians can ensure your sleep study proceeds smoothly while supplying the physician with optimal sleep apnea data. Arriving prepared mentally while bringing approved items from home can further ease the experience.

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