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Sleep Education


American Academy of Sleep Medicine 
  

 
 

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In-lab sleep study - Testing Process & Results


Testing Process

When you are ready to go to bed, the sleep technologist will attach sensors to your body. The sensors, which are glued or taped to you, monitor your body while you sleep. These sensors are painless. Make sure to tell the technologist if you are allergic or sensitive to any adhesives. The sensors measure your:

  • Brain waves
  • Chin muscle activity
  • Heart rate
  • Breathing
  • Oxygen levels
  • Leg movements

The wires are long enough to let you move around and turn over in bed. At the start of the test, you will be asked to move your eyes, clench your teeth and move your legs. This will make sure that the sensors are working.

You are free to read or watch TV until your normal bedtime. When it is time for you to try to go to sleep, the lights will go off and a low-light video camera will allow the technologist to see you from a nearby room. If a sensor comes loose or you need to go to the bathroom during the night, the technologist will have to help you with the wires.

Many patients do not sleep as well as they would at home. This may be because of the sensors or the unfamiliar environment. This typically does not affect the results. Nearly everyone falls asleep during an in-lab study. In most cases, you do not need a full eight hours of sleep for the doctor to make a diagnosis. Occasionally, you may be prescribed medication to help you sleep during the in-lab sleep study.

In the morning the technologist will test and then remove the sensors. You may be asked to fill out a morning questionnaire that asks about the quality of your sleep and your experience in the sleep center. The in-lab study is complete once you are awake and the sensors have been removed.

Results

Members of the sleep team will review and evaluate the information gathered during the sleep study. It may take several days to two weeks to properly evaluate your sleep study.

A sleep technologist will first score your sleep study by marking your sleep stages and identifying any events of abnormal breathing or leg movement. The board certified sleep physician will then review the results to determine what kind of sleep problem you may have. After the board certified sleep physician makes his diagnosis he or she will contact you to discuss the results.