A sleep test is a way to observe your sleeping habits to come up with a diagnosis in order to help you rest better at night. If this is your first sleep test, you may have a few questions if you’re unsure of what to expect. Below are some frequently asked questions that people have when getting their first sleep test.
Q: How Is the Sleep Test Conducted?
A: Before the sleep test is started, the sleep technologist will place sensors on your scalp, face, chest and legs. The purpose of these sensors is to record your brainwave activity, eye movements, muscle activity, heart rhythm, body movements, nasal/oral airflow, respiratory effort and oxygenation. Also, your body position will be recorded via camera.
The sensors are attached to you the same way that sensors are attached during an electrocardiogram or EKG. In rare cases where people have sensitive skin, they may develop a skin irritation where the electrodes were placed. If you have developed an irritation due to an EKG testing in the past, just let your sleep center and technician know prior to your study.
Q: How Long Does the Sleep Test Take?
A: The process of hooking you up to the machines starts shortly after your scheduled appointment time which is typically between 7:30 p.m. and 9:00 p.m. and should take about 30-45 minutes. Your testing is done in a private room where you will have access to a DVD player and a private bathroom with a shower. The start time for your sleep test will start at approximately 10:30 p.m. and will last till about 6:00 a.m.
Although you are not expected to fall asleep at a certain time, your technician will strongly encourage you to fall asleep as soon as possible. That way, it will allow for the maximum amount of time for your sleep to be observed.
Q: Does the Test Hurt?
A: The sleep test should not hurt as it is non-invasive. The sleep lab environment where the test will take place will be dark and quiet allowing for the best sleep possible. However, with the wires and electrodes present, it is not uncommon for your sleep to be impacted. If you are concerned about not being able to fall asleep during your test, they might suggest that you deprive yourself of sleep the night prior to your sleep test.
Q: Can I Bring My Own Pillow?
A: It is completely okay to bring items such as a pillow with you. In fact, bringing these items might make you more comfortable and therefore, you will get a better night’s sleep. Do not, however, bring items such as pagers and cell phones. These items can disrupt the hospitals equipment that is needed to conduct your test. If you must bring these items, they must be turned off for the duration of the test.
Q: What If I Have to Use the Restroom During My Test?
A: It is okay if you have to get up to use the restroom during your test. Just notify your sleep technician by either calling out or sitting up in your bed and let them know you need to go to the bathroom. They will then unhook you from the connections which will allow you to get up and walk to the restroom.
Q: How/When Will I Get My Results?
A: After your sleep test is finished, a sleep center physician will review your test and use that and your clinical history to arrive at a diagnosis. The sleep technician cannot discuss your results with you. Once your test is reviewed, the sleep physician will forward the results to your doctor. Visit your doctor to get your results and see what the best way to proceed is.
Now that you have answers to some of the more frequently asked questions, you will be able to go into your test knowing what to expect. Hopefully, your sleep test will give you the answer to your sleep problems that you are looking for!