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What to expect at a sleep study?

Frequently-asked questions regarding sleep studies

Q: Do I need a referral to have a sleep study?

A: No, you can make an appointment directly with a sleep provider. Keep in mind your insurance company may require you to have a referral.

Q: What is a sleep study?

A: A sleep study is also known as polysomnography. Polysomnography is a testing procedure that measures a variety of physical activity, such as brain functions and breathing, during sleep.

Q: If I work the evening shift, how do I schedule my sleep study?

A: We schedule all sleep tests based on your work and sleep schedule based on your needs.

Q: What do I bring with me to the sleep study?

A: Please bring something comfortable for sleeping, such as a shirt and shorts, or pajamas and any personal items. Please bring a list of medicines you take. Bring anything you would need for an overnight stay: toothbrush, medicines that are needed during the night (even something simple like Tums) and change of clothes.

Q: How should I prepare for my sleep study?

A: Please avoid caffeine in the afternoon on the day of your study. No napping on the day of the study. Because we will be placing several sensors on your body, please ensure your hair is freshly washed and free of hair care products. If you wear makeup, you will be asked to remove it. If you have acrylic nails, please remove at least one nail before your study. This is so that we can accurately measure your oxygen levels during your testing.

Q: What about my children or spouse?

A: Your family is welcome to come along. We do ask them to leave when the testing is started for the night.

Q: Do I have to sleep on my back?

A: We ask you to try but realize that this is not always possible. We want you to be comfortable and sleep.

Q: Will someone be watching me sleep?

A: While there is no one in the room with you, a technologist will be recording data while you sleep to ensure an accurate recording. There is an infrared camera in your room that allows the technologist to monitor your position, movements and need for assistance.

 Q: How much sleeping time is necessary for the test?

A: We like to obtain six hours of sleep. In many cases, a diagnosis can be made with just a few hours of sleep recorded.

Q: Should I plan to eat dinner at the sleep lab?

A: Please arrange to eat dinner before arriving at the sleep lab.

Q: What if I get sick, or there is an emergency?

A: Sleep center technicians are trained in basic life support and can easily access hospital staff. Participants in sleep studies are having their vital statistics monitored closely throughout the study.

Q: I need help with my care. How is this handled at the center?

A: For those who need help with walking, dressing, etc., please bring someone with you who can help you. If additional care is needed, please call and talk to sleep center staff for scheduling needs.

Q: Will my insurance cover this?

A: We will get insurance approval and then contact you to make an appointment. We are unable to answer specific questions about the amount of insurance coverage for your sleep testing. Contact your insurance company for questions about specific coverage amounts.

Q: Is there any pain involved?

A: No. This is a painless and non-invasive (no needles) testing procedure. Sometimes, as a result of rubbing the skin or application of the electrodes, there is some mild skin irritation.

Q: What are the rooms like?

A: The room is furnished with premium bedding, built-in cabinetry, a private bath and cable TV. There are no phones in patient rooms; you may bring your cell phone (this will need to be turned off during testing).

Q: What happens in the morning?

A:Shortly after you awake, our sleep technician will remove sensors and ask you about your sleep quality. You will then be able to shower and go home.

 Q: What if I cannot sleep?

A: If you typically have difficulty falling asleep in an unfamiliar environment, we recommend bringing a book. There is a television in each of the sleep testing rooms. Please bring your own prescribed or over-the-counter sleep aids with you or the provider may prescribe a medication to be used if need.

 Q: Can I bring my own pillow or blanket?

A: Bringing items such as your own pillow may make you more comfortable and may facilitate getting more restful sleep. 

Q: What happens if I have to use the bathroom during my study?

A: Every bedroom has it owns bathroom. Every bedroom has an open intercom that will enable you to communicate with our technologist at any time. If you need to use the bathroom during the night, the technologist will assist and disconnect the wires temporarily.

Q: When will I now the results?

A: Most follow-up appointments are scheduled at the same time as your sleep study. The follow up is usually scheduled within four to seven days after the testing.

Q: Should I take my usual medicines before and during my sleep study?

A: Yes, unless your doctor tells you differently. Please bring any nighttime medicine you currently take. 

General Sleep Tips

  • Get up at the same time every day.
  • Try to sleep only when drowsy.
  • Maintain a relaxing pre-sleep routine. This may include a warm bath (one to two hours before bedtime), relaxation exercises or quiet reading.
  • Keep the bedroom dark, cool and quiet while sleeping.
  • If you are unable to fall asleep or stay asleep, get out of bed and engage in quiet activity such as reading. Return to bed only when sleepy.
  • Exercise regularly, but do not exercise vigorously within several hours of bedtime.
  • Keep a consistent daily schedule for meals, medication, and other activities.
  • Long naps can disturb your nighttime sleep. If necessary, 20 to 30 minute naps in the early afternoon are best.
  • Avoid caffeine and alcohol within four hours of bedtime.
  • Avoid nicotine near bedtime.


Contact Us

Most insurance programs require a preauthorization by the insurance carrier in order for insurance coverage to be provided. St. Agnes Center for Sleep Disorders will obtain any necessary preauthorization.           

Center for Sleep Disorders at St. Agnes Hospital, call (920) 926-5020, or (800) 922-3400,extension 5020.

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