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What happens during a sleep study?

The in-lab overnight sleep study requires you to stay overnight at a sleep center, in a bed that may resemble a hotel room. You will sleep with sensors hooked up to various parts of your body. These sensors record your brain waves, heartbeat, breathing and movement. Doctors usually recommend a sleep study for more complex cases of sleep apnea. An overnight sleep study also provides your doctor with the most complete information about your sleep.

This content originally appeared on the American Academy of Sleep Medicine website.
You will be placed in a room. Painless sensor electrodes will be applied to your scalp and face, and a belt will be placed around your chest and abdomen. You will be asked to go to sleep, and the sensors will record your breathing, chest movements, heart rate, blood pressure and eye and brain activity.
Fred Y. Lin, MD
Ear, Nose & Throat (Otolaryngology)

If you do a sleep study or polysomnography (PSG) at a sleep center, you will enter the facility in the evening and be connected to monitors after your normal pre-sleep routine. You then go to sleep as if it was a normal night, and when you wake up the next morning, you either go home or go to work.

During a sleep study, you will be evaluated by painless, noninvasive technology. PSG records breathing, heart rate, brain waves, oxygen levels and eye and leg movement. After the evaluation, the appropriate therapy is determined.

Hospitalization is not required although the study is done in the hospital; overnight tests are completed by 8 A.M. It is usually not necessary to miss a day of work.

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Important: This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.