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What to Expect

Having a sleep study?

If your doctor suspects that you have a sleep disorder, you may be prescribed a sleep study. Your doctor may notify CHRISTUS St. Vincent Sleep Center to schedule your sleep study appointment.

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What is a sleep study and why am I having one?

What is a sleep study?

A sleep study is a safe, painless, and simple evaluation of how your body functions during sleep. It is performed by a registered sleep technician. The data, recorded while you are sleeping, is reviewed by a board-certified sleep physician. The clinical term for a sleep study is polysomnogram (PSG).

Why am I having a sleep study?

A sleep study is a detailed evaluation to determine if you have a sleep disorder. Just as an x-ray uncovers a broke bone, a sleep study can uncover a problem with your sleep patterns.

If you do have a sleep disorder, it is important to be diagnosed and treated. Sleep disorders can contribute to other diseases and conditions such as stroke, heart attack, high blood pressure, and depression.

A common sleep breathing disorder, Obstructive Sleep Apnea (OSA), is caused by the airway closing and preventing the flow of air into the lungs. The resulting pauses in breathing can occur 30 times or more per hour. Without effective treatment, people with OSA may be at risk of developing a number of serious health conditions.

Because of the excessive daytime sleepiness that exists with OSA, drivers who have untreated OSA can become hazard to themselves and others while on the road. The goal of being tested, diagnosed, and treated for a sleep disorder is to help you realize a better quality of sleep and a enhanced quality of life.

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Where does a study occur, how long will it take, and what type of environment can I expect?

Where are sleep studies held?

Sleep studies occur in a facility called a sleep center or sleep lab. These facilities have staff and equipment dedicated to diagnosing sleep disorders.

How long will it take?

The visit to the sleep center takes from 10 to 11 hours. The set-up process for the study takes about 30 minutes and the sleep portion of the study takes about 6 to 8 hours. You might be scheduled to arrive around 8 pm or 9 pm and leave at 6 am or 7 am the next morning.

Will I be the only person having a sleep study done?

There might be multiple sleep studies going on in the facility.

In what kind of room will I be sleeping?

For comfort and privacy, the room is designed as a bedroom. There will be a bed with pilllows and blankets. There may be a night stand, reading lamp and television in the room. You can bring objects from home to make the environment more comfortable for you.

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What do I need to know or do before coming to the sleep center for my sleep study?

The day of your study:

  • Shower, shampoo and dry your hair
  • Leave non-essential valuables at home
  • Arrive at least 15 mninutes early for your study in case there is any additional paperwork to complete

What not to do the day of your study:

  • Don't nap
  • Don't use hair conditioners, gels, creams, oils, hairsprays, etc.
  • Don't use lotions or creams on your face or body
  • Don't wear makeup or jewelry
  • Don't wear acrylic nails or hair braids/weaves
  • Don't consume caffeinated foods or beverages (avoid chocolate, coffee, tea, soda, etc.)

The sleep lab provides the following:

  • Towels
  • Bedding
  • Pillows
  • HD Television
  • Reading lamp
  • WiFi

What to bring from home:

  • Your own pillow or blanket if you prefer; however, these will be provided in your room
  • Comfortable sleep attire and slippers; a bathrobe is optional
  • Something to read or work on before going to sleep
  • Reading glasses (if applicable)
  • Personal items (toiletries)
  • Change of clothes
  • Any necessary medications
  • A list of medications you have taken in the the last week
  • Food item (that don't require refrigeration or heating) if your normally eat at night or in the early morning
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What happens during the study?

When you arrive for your study, you will be greeted by a staff member who will show you to your room and provide an explanation of the sleep study process. There may be a questionnaire for you to fill out. Then you will change into your sleep attire.

Equipment used in the study

The sleep technician will attach sensors to parts of your body such as your scalp, forehead, chin, chest, ankle/leg, and index finger. The sensors are painless and are attached using a temporary adhesive/gel. Elastic bands may also be placed around your chest and abdomen to measure your breathing.

The sensors are connected by wires to a computer that records and stores data. The wires are long and small, enabling you to move around in bed.

After the sensors are applied, you can watch television, read a magazine or book, or simply lie in bed until you are ready to fall asleep.

What is being monitored while I sleep?

The sensors that are attached to the various parts of your body are measuring the activities of your brain, heart, lungs, and certain muscles during sleep. The information provides important feedback that is interpreted by a sleep specialist and given to your doctor.

Will I be able to move in my sleep?

You will be able to sleep and move freely in any position.

What if I need to use the restroom during the night?

The need to use the restroom during the night is easily accommodated. The sleep technician will let you know how to handle this.

Will any of my hair need to be shaved in the areas in which the sensor are placed?

The sensors are applied with a paste that is easily removed with soap and water. Unless your body hair is extremely thick on your legs or chest, shaving will not be needed. The hair on your head can be parted when applying the sensors and does not need to be shaved. If you have any concerns about this, discuss them with your sleep technician.

Will I be watched while I sleep?

The sleep technician is at a separate work station located in the facility. In order to provide a full evaluation and report of the study,  the work station has various monitoring and recording devices. This is standard practice in order to provide your doctor with the most thorough and detail results of your study.

What if I can't fall asleep?

How long it takes you to fall asleep is part of the data that will be recorded, as that information is important to the study. Many people actually fall asleep sooner than they think.

Can I bring someone with me?

A child must have a parent or guardian. However, there is not enough space to accommodate two adults. Contact the sleep facility in advance if you have any questions about this.

Can I sleep in my own clothes?

Yes. A comfortable sleep outfit is recommended and best suited for the study.

What will I feel/does it hurt?

The sleep study process is painless. You may feel the sensation of a sensor being removed, which is similar to having a bandage taken off.

Will the technician need to come in to my room while I sleep?

If a sensor becomes detached, the technician will awaken you to reattach it. Also, if the technician becomes aware - from the data being collected and monitored - that you may have a severe sleep breathing disorder and may benefit from immediate therapy that involves airflow to you airway, he or she will awaken you to apply the therapy equipment. Once you fall back to sleep, data will be collected on how your sleep patterns respond to the therapy.

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What happens in the morning?

When is the study over?

The study ends when the technician determines that sufficient data has been recorded or when you awake in the morning. After the technician removes the sensors, you can change your clothes and leave.

Will I be able to drive home in the morning?

There is no reason you won't be able to drive. If you have any concerns about feeling tired, you may prefer to make arrangements ahead of time to have someone pick you up.

Will I be able to go to work?

Yes. You will get a regular night' sleep and be out of the lab by 6 am or 7 am and will be able to function for work.

Study Results

How long will it take to get my results?

The results take approximately two weeks and will be sent to the physician who prescribed the study. He or she will contact you to review the results, discuss if a diagnosis has been made, and determine if therapy is needed. If the physician feels that you need to be treated with a sleep therapy device, another sleep study may be scheduled so data can be collected while you sleep with the device.

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Insurance Coverage

Will my insurance cover my sleep study?

Sleep studies are covered by most insurance plans. You should have your insurance information available when your sleep study appointment is scheduled.

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