Most people feel vulnerable when it comes to sleeping around other people. Most people would rather save sleeping as a private affair. Due to natural instincts, most who are told they need a sleep study feel nervous, anxious, and even reluctant. While it is a strange and unfamiliar experience, sleep studies can be extremely valuable for detecting internal sleep issues which play a large role in overall health.
Once a sleep study has been scheduled, there are different ways that patients can prepare. First, it is important that while a patient prepares themselves for the study, they also try to maintain a normal routine. In order to correctly diagnose and recommend treatment, the sleep technicians need their patients to act as normal as possible. Patients should also arrive before their typical bedtime, usually between 8 and 9 pm for an overnight study. Patients should be full and ready to sleep. Any medications that are required and clothes that are comfortable for sleeping should be brought along, as well as morning supplies, such as toothpaste and a toothbrush.
After the patient arrives and is shown to their room, they are given some time to get adjusted and comfortable. Patients should have previously received and completed a patient packet, although depending on the center or hospital, patients may also expect a brief questionnaire upon arrival. From there, patients can expect to review the forms and go over what the study will entail. Sleep technicians then collect health history and vitals before applying monitors to measure bodily sleep activity. Monitors may include wires attached to your scalp, wire electrodes taped to the face near the eyes and chin, elastic belts around the chest and stomach, nasal tubing, a finger and leg monitor, a small mic on the throat, and 2-3 EKG monitors for heart rate and rhythm detection. After applying the monitors, the technician will relocate to an outside room to calibrate equipment before encouraging patients to sleep.
Despite fears of an inability to fall asleep, it is very rare that a sleep study fails due to this issue. Even those who seem to only obtain a small amount of sleep can rest assured that enough data was acquired to diagnosis the problem.
Early the next morning, the technician will wake the patient, remove the monitors, and fill out paperwork. Afterward, patients are free to shower and get ready for the day or head home. Results are sent to the doctor or sleep specialist where they review the results with the patient’s medical history to determine a diagnosis. Patients typically wait seven to ten days to get results. Once diagnosed, patients and doctors can discuss possible treatments for the disorder.