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What You Can Expect If Your Doctor Recommends A Sleep Study

by Camila Davidson

If you go to your doctor, and they recommend a sleep study, you might be surprised and confused by the recommendation. However, there are numerous complaints and symptoms that you might not realize would be cause to have a sleep study and to see a sleep medicine doctor. Things like daytime fatigue, excessive sleepiness, tossing and turning at night, or snoring are all potentially signs you need a sleep study. Before you worry about your upcoming sleep study, get to know what you can expect from the process and from the sleep medicine specialist who will read the test results. Then, you can be better prepared for and less confused about the process.

Expect to Arrive Mid-Evening

Whether your appointment for a sleep study is at a private sleep clinic or in a regular hospital, you can expect to have to arrive for your sleep study between 7:00 and 9:00 PM. This gives the sleep technician time to check you in, review your medical history with you, and to get you ready for the study. 

Arriving so early does not mean you have to go to bed super early, though the sleep study staff would prefer if you go to bed around 10:00 PM or so in order for the sleep study to be completed by early morning. 

Expect to Wear a Lot of Sensors

In order for the sleep study to occur, you will have to wear numerous sensors on your head and body. There will be sensors all around your head as well as on your chest and even your legs. These sensors all give the sleep technician and sleep medicine doctor a better idea of your sleep patterns. 

The head sensors read brain activity. The chest sensors read lung and heart output. The leg sensors, likely the strangest in your eyes, will help determine if you have restless leg syndrome. 

Expect to Maybe Have a Little Trouble Falling Asleep

Do not fret if you have trouble falling asleep when you go in for your sleep study. You are in an unfamiliar environment and have sensors all over your body, which is a weird feeling. Taking longer than usual to fall asleep is normal and expected. Just try to relax and get as comfortable as possible. You will fall asleep eventually. 

Expect to Possibly Be Woken in the Middle of the Night

If the test results indicate that you have moderate to severe sleep apnea symptoms, the sleep technician may wake you in the middle of the night and have you try out using a CPAP machine for the rest of the night.

CPAP machines force a constant flow of air into your body so that your throat does not close up while you are sleeping. This prevents sleep apnea symptoms and can help you sleep better. Getting this treatment during your sleep study does not provide you a sleep apnea diagnosis. The test has to be assessed by a sleep medicine doctor first to receive your official diagnosis. 

Knowing what you can expect if your doctor recommends a sleep study, you can feel more prepared for the process and make sure you get your sleep study scheduled as soon as possible. 

For more information, reach out to a sleep medicine professional near you.