If you have sleep problems and your doctor decides to give you a sleep test, called polysomnography, you may be asked to spend the night at a sleep center or hospital. The test records your brain waves, the oxygen level in your blood, your heart and breathing rate, and your eye and leg movements during sleep.
A sleep test is noninvasive and painless. You can bring your own pajamas, and the room is usually similar to a hotel room. It's dark and quiet, and you don't have to share the room with anyone else. (That might be a welcome change from snoring partners or middle-of-the-night visits from kids!)
The room has an infrared camera so the technologists can monitor what is happening in the room. There is also an audio system so they can talk to you and hear you from their monitoring area outside the room.
You will need to sleep with a sensor on your scalp, temples, chest, and legs, as well as a sensor on your finger to monitor the oxygen level in your blood. The sensors keep track of your brain waves as you sleep, so your doctor can keep track of your non-rapid eye movement (NREM) and rapid eye movement (REM) sleep.
It usually takes about two weeks to receive the results of the polysomnography. In your follow-up appointment, your doctor will review what they learned and discuss any treatment or further evaluation.
If your doctor does not recommend a sleep test, there are a number of other behavioral and environmental sleep therapies, as well as alternative treatments. You may even be able to do a professional sleep study at home. A small bedside device—prescribed by your doctor—has hookups for your heart rate, breathing, and other vitals that will indicate how well you are sleeping.
Before you undergo any sleep study, be sure not to drink alcohol or caffeine, take a nap, or take any sleep aids that might interfere with the results.
If you have sleep problems and your doctor decides to give you a
sleep test, called polysomnography, you may be asked to spend the
night at a sleep center or hospital. The test records your brain
waves, the oxygen level in your blood, your... More