Alaska Sleep Education Center

How to Prepare for a Sleep Study: A List of Do's and Don'ts

Posted by Kevin Phillips

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on Mar 20, 2015 3:59:00 PM

Man meeting with his primary care doctor.

Coming to terms with realizing you have a sleep disorder can be a trying time. The countless nights of lost sleep have finally taken their toll, and you've decided to get to the root of what's causing you to lose quality sleep on a frequent basis.

Maybe by this point, you've already gone ahead and spoken with your primary care physician, or a sleep specialist, about your symptoms and you have scheduled to have a sleep study performed at a sleep clinic. You may be nervous about what to expect during your overnight stay at a clinic, where you will be observed by a sleep technologist while you sleep. So how do you prepare for a sleep study to ensure that it goes smoothly for both you and your sleep tech?

Preparing for your sleep study

For the most part, to get the best results out of your sleep study, technicians want you to go about your usual evening routine as much as possible. However, there are certain things you can do to make the study go more smoothly, and still garner the most accurate results.

What to bring

  • Bring and take all of your regular prescribed medications according to your physician's instructions.

  • Bring sleeping clothes such as pajamas or shorts and a t-shirt. Although your comfort is very important, most clinics prefer you not to sleep naked the night of the study.

  • Bring a favorite pillow or blanket if desired.

  • Bring any other specialty items you may need for sleep or will need first thing in the morning such as toiletries, toothpaste, toothbrush, hairdryer, etc.

  • Bring clothes to go home in, or clothes for work if heading to your job in the morning.

What to do before arriving for the study

  • Try to avoid naps during the day so that going to sleep will be easier during your study.

  • Wash and dry your hair before going to the clinic. Do not apply sprays, conditioners, gels, or oils to your hair. There are a number of electrodes that will be administered and these substances can adhering equipment difficult.

  • Remove nail polish from index fingers. You will be wearing a pulse oximeter on one index finger.
  • Have your evening meal prior to showing up for your study.

  • Try and avoid eating or drinking anything with caffeine a few hours before your study. If possible, avoid caffeine after your lunch.

  • Have all paperwork given ahead of time filled out.
  • Notify the sleep clinic if you need to come in early or show up later (most clinics ask you to be there around 7:30 p.m. to 8:00 p.m.) so that you can better be accommodated.

  • Let the clinic know ahead of time if you have any special needs (e.g. trouble getting in/out of bed, any physical limitations, nocturnal enuresis, impairments, etc.).

What to do upon arrival and what to expect

  • Notify your sleep tech of any prescription medications and recreational drugs you take (be as honest as possible for best results).

  • If your physician prescribes a sleep aid for the night of the study, ask the technologist when to take it.

  • You're going to be hooked up to a lot of monitoring equipment that takes about an hour to apply. Please be patient and take direction from your technologist.

  • Sleeping with a lot of equipment on can be a little uncomfortable, but your technologist will do everything they can to make you as comfortable as possible.

  • Your technologist will administer the study from another room, but you will have an intercom next to your bed if you need to contact them anytime during the study.

  • Procedures and equipment used in a sleep study.

  • Your results will not be ready the following day. Both the technologist and the sleep physician will need to interpret the study's data. You should receive your results in approximately 7-10 days.

Other resources

What do sleep studies cost?.

Sleep Study Insurance Information

By following these simple guidelines your sleep study should go soundly, and you'll soon be notified of the results of your study and recommendations for therapy. If you live in Alaska and would like to have your sleep study performed at The Alaska Sleep Clinic, click on the link below to receive a free 10-minute phone consultation with a sleep educator.

Finally - Sleep Consultation

Topics: sleep study, Sleep Tips

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