Your provider may make an evaluation based on your sleep signs and symptoms or may refer you to the Sleep Disorder Center or sleep lab. There, a sleep specialist will further evaluate your symptoms during a sleep study or sleep evaluation, called polysomnography, which involves overnight monitoring of your breathing and other body functions during sleep.
You will arrive in the evening at the location of your scheduled evaluation and stay overnight. You may bring items you use for your bedtime routine, and you can sleep in your own nightclothes.
The sleep testing area is set up like a bedroom. You won't share the room with other patients. The room has a video camera, so the polysomnography technologists monitoring you can see what's happening in the room in the dark. There also is an audio system, so the technologist can talk to you and hear you from a monitoring area outside the room.
While you sleep, a technologist monitors your:
- Brain waves
- Eye movements
- Heart rate
- Breathing pattern
- Blood oxygen level
- Body position
- Limb movement
- Snoring and other noise you may make as you sleep
All of these measurements are recorded on a continuous graph.
Polysomnography technologists monitor you throughout the night. If you need assistance, you can talk to them through the monitoring equipment. They can come into the room to detach the wires if you need to get up during the night.
Although you probably won't fall asleep as easily or sleep as well at the sleep center as you do at home, this usually doesn't affect the test results. A full night's sleep isn't required to obtain accurate polysomnography results.
In the morning, the sensors are removed before you leave the sleep center. You're scheduled for a follow-up appointment with the doctor who recommended the test. You can return to your usual activities after polysomnography.