Overnight Sleep Study: What to Expect

A polysomnograms (PSG), also called an overnight sleep study, is one of the best tools for detecting a sleep disorder. You will spend the night at one of the Riverside Centers for Sleep Medicine so your sleep can be monitored and assessed. PSGs are used to help diagnose:
  • Sleep-related breathing disorders such as sleep apnea
  • Narcolepsy
  • Sleep-related seizure disorders
  • The correct settings for a CPAP machine if one is recommended for use in cases of sleep apnea.

Sensors are used to monitor your body while you sleep. The polysomnogram records:

  • Brain activity
  • Eye movements
  • Heart rate
  • Blood pressure
  • Amount of oxygen in your blood
  • How much air is moving through your nose while you breathe
  • Snoring
  • Chest movements, showing how much effort is expended when you breathe

Before your test
Before the overnight sleep study, you will be given instructions regarding meals, medication and other issues. For example, drinking alcohol or caffeine may interfere with your sleep test and should be avoided.

What to bring
Pack a small bag that includes your pajamas, toothbrush and any other necessities you will need during the night and the next morning. Many patients bring their own pillow. You may also want to bring a book or magazine to read.

What to expect
During a sleep study, your accommodations will be similar to that of a hotel. You will be in a private bedroom with a bathroom, all designed to make you feel comfortable and at ease. Here is what you can expect:

  • You will be shown your private bedroom and asked to put on your pajamas.
  • A technician will place surface electrodes on your body. These sensors record electrical signals generated by your brain and muscle activity. The recorded data helps your physician to understand what happens while you sleep.
  • Before the study begins, you will have time to relax and sleep. You may want to read a book or watch some TV.
  • Riverside technicians will monitor you from another room while you sleep. They will be able to react quickly if you have any questions or need any help during your stay.
  • The study should end around 5:30 to 6 a.m. the next morning.
  • Your physician will review the results of the test with you in a timely manner.

 

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