What Happens in a Sleep Study for Sleep Apnea?

What Happens in a Sleep Study for Sleep Apnea?

July 1, 2023

Sleep apnea is the most common sleep issue in which the breathing gets irregular at night. It stresses your heart, which results in heart-related problems. It can also cause plaque accumulation in the brain and heart arteries. Although there is no cure for sleep apnea, studies show that few lifestyle changes can help you reverse or reduce the symptoms.

If the doctor finds that sleep apnea is affecting your health, he/she recommends a sleep study (also known as a polysomnogram). This sleep apnea test can be performed at home or in a sleep apnea center near you.

What is a Sleep Study?

A sleep study is a test that tracks specific physical activities like your heart rate, oxygen in the blood, breathing, and brain waves during sleep. This data helps the sleep apnea doctor to determine the signs of sleep apnea or other sleep disorder.

What to Expect During a Polysomnography?

Below are the things you can expect during and after the sleep study:


If you are getting sleep study in a sleep center, the doctor will ask you to come in the evening and stay overnight in a quiet and dark room. The sleeping area will have a low-light video camera that allows the sleep specialist to observe everything in the room.

The camera comes with an audio system that allows the doctor to speak and hear. The polysomnography technologists ask you to bring your own items for your sleeping routine.

After you are on your bed, the doctor will put the sensors on your chest, scalp, legs, and temples with tape or glue. The expert will also place a tiny clip on your ear or finger. On the night of polysomnography, you can take your regular medicines unless your doctor gives you a green signal.

You just need to fall asleep and wake up the next morning. The technologist evaluates the outcome by using charts and other data. After that, that information is reviewed by the sleep center doctor. Depending on that, he/she discusses further sleep apnea treatment and therapy options.

The monitoring equipment allows the sleep specialist to monitor the following:

  • Limb and eye movements.
  • Breathing patterns.
  • Position of body.
  • Brain waves.
  • Movement of abdominal and chest area.
  • Oxygen level in the blood.
  • Heart rate.
  • Snoring and other noises.

During the sleep study, the doctor will also ask you to try a positive airway pressure machine. It has a tight sealing face mask or nose piece via which a gentle air stream is passed.


After a sleep study, the sleep specialist eliminates the sensors. He/she will ask you to get back to your standard routine. The expert will ask you to have a follow-up visit. Return the testing devices to your healthcare provider.

Preparation for a Sleep Study

The following tips will help you prepare for a sleep study:

  • Stop using your regular medicines before the testing.
  • Bring a book, magazine, pillow and comfortable clothes with you.
  • Avoid drinking alcohol or caffeine the remaining day because they can make the outcome inaccurate.
  • Also, do not nap before your study because it can interfere with falling asleep during the test.
  • Try to fix your appointment for two weeks after polysomnography. It’s the time when the doctor will discuss the results.

How Long Does the Sleep Study Last for Sleep Apnea?

The sleep study will take approximately 30 to 45 minutes to complete.

At-Home Sleep Apnea Test

Another way to determine if you have sleep apnea is to take an at-home sleep test (HST). The patients do not need to visit the hospital for testing. HST is a portable breathing monitoring device that diagnoses OSA in the comfort of your home. It means for at-home sleep tests. The doctor will prescribe a portable breathing kit to use at home.

At-home sleep apnea testing is best for diagnosing obstructive sleep apnea in a few individuals as long as the sleep doctor interprets the outcome accurately. They measure the following body metrics:

  • Sleep position and position changes.
  • Chest movement.
  • Breathing patterns and respiratory activities.
  • Motor activities or nocturnal movements.
  • Snoring intensity and events.

Get Sleep Study Near You Today

Sleep apnea has been strongly linked to a wide variety of chronic diseases and health issues. Knowing how to manage your sleep issues can help you significantly improve your quality of life. Book an appointment at Taylor Made Sleep for a sleep study.

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