AT A SLEEP CENTER
The most common type of sleep study is performed at a special sleep center. You will be asked to arrive about 2 hours before bedtime. You will sleep in a bed at the center.
Many sleep centers have rooms that are similar to hotel rooms, so that you are in a comfortable bedroom. The test is often done during the night so that your normal sleep patterns can be studied.
The health care provider will place electrodes on your chin, scalp, and the outer edge of your eyelids. These must remain in place while you sleep.
Signals from the electrodes are recorded while you are awake (with your eyes closed) and during sleep. The time it takes you to fall asleep is measured, as well as the time it takes you to enter REM sleep.
Monitors to record your heart rate and breathing will be attached to your chest. These also must stay in place while you sleep. A specially trained health care provider will observe you while you sleep and note any changes in your breathing or heart rate. The number of times that you either stop breathing or almost stop breathing will be measured.
In some sleep study centers, a video camera records your movements during sleep.
Portable sleep study devices that can be used in the home instead of at a sleep center are available to help diagnose sleep apnea. You go to a sleep center to pick up the device, or a trained therapist comes to your home to set up the device.
Portable devices are best used when:
- You are under the care of a sleep specialist
- Your sleep doctor thinks you have obstructive sleep apnea
- You do not have other sleep disorders
- You do not have other serious medical conditions, such as heart disease or lung disease