What should I expect during a sleep test?

During a sleep test (also known as a polysomnography) you can expect to sleep in a dark, quiet and private room, similar to a hotel room, with its own bathroom. It's private in that you won't share it with anyone, other than a video camera. This is placed there so that the technologists can observe your movements while you sleep. There's also an audio system so you can communicate with one another. The sleep test is painless and noninvasive. It will record your brain waves, the oxygen levels in your blood, your heart rate, breathing and eye and leg movements.

You'll be able to sleep in your own pajamas (no hospital gowns required) and bring any items you normally use for your bedtime routine. Once you're ready to lie down, you'll be wired with sensors on various parts of your body like your scalp, temples, chest and legs, and your finger or ear will sport a small clip, which monitors oxygen levels in your blood. Sometimes, if sleep apnea is suspected, you'll be asked to try a positive airway pressure, or PAP, machine during the night to test out its effectiveness.

Following the visit, the doctor should be able to diagnose your condition and suggest treatment so that you no longer suffer from sleep problems. Treatments may include medications, medical devices such as PAPs or dental appliances to help with snoring. Treatment may also include nonmedical approaches like cognitive behavioral therapy.

This content originally appeared on

Continue Learning about Sleep Study

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.