Having an overnight sleep study to rule out sleep disorders can cause stress and anxiety if you don’t know what to expect. There really is nothing to worry about. A sleep study, or polysomnogram, is non-invasive and the only thing that you need to do to “pass” the test is sleep.
If you can’t sleep, no worries at all. Just try your best to relax and let yourself fall asleep. In my ten year career in sleep medicine, I have only once had a patient not able to fall asleep in an 8 hour period. Guess what….she was there for insomnia so it just helped to confirm her diagnosis and she was treated accordingly. It’s a sleep disorders center, not a perfect sleep center.
Things You’ll Need:
·Saline Nasal Spray (over the counter like Ocean Spray)
·Personal bathroom items
·AM and PM medications
To assist in getting the best possible sleep study, take a shower and shave facial hair prior to arrival. This will allow for better electrode placement and readings.
Bring your personal items and toiletries. Leave your alarm clock at home. Bring your pillow specifically, though you might want to put a cover on it that you don’t particularly care about. Take off the Egyptian Satin 800 thread count and throw on a flannel pillow case. It might get some electrode conduction paste on it.
Take all of your regular medications unless you are told otherwise by the sleep lab or your doctor. Bring your nighttime and early morning medications with you as well as any medical devices that are necessary to you. (nebulizers, inhalers…things like that)
If you are currently using CPAP or BiPAP, bring your mask and headgear. That way you can use it, or at least the technician can make sure that it is in good condition and check the fit.
Bring your pajamas and some slippers. Though you have your own room, there are going to be other patients and technicians around in the halls. Leave the naked sleeping at home….PLEASE!!!
Try to arrive 15 minutes early. Sleep labs work on a very tight schedule since there are many patients to hook up (with electrodes) that are all going to bed at the same time. It is a “hurry up and wait” situation, so you might want to bring a book or magazine.
Eat all of your regular meals, especially dinner. DO NOT eat or drink caffeinated foods like coffee, chocolate, tea, cola products after NOON on the day of your test.
DO NOT drink any alcohol on the day of your appointment. This includes, but is not limited to: beer, liquors, brandy, margaritas, Jose Cuervo, bathtub moonshine, or wine.
Don’t take a nap on the day of your study. We want you good and tired!!!
If you are told that you are going to have to stay the next day for MSLT (to rule out Narcolepsy) testing, then you will want to bring food and beverages for the next day.
You’ll also want to have a book since there are 5 “Naps” with 2 hours between each nap.
You will be hooked up with several electrodes. More than 20 will be placed on you. Several on your face, some glued to your head, some on your chest and legs. There will be a cannula up your nose to monitor breathing. There will be belts around your chest and abdomen.
Despite all this…you actually get used to it fairly quickly.
Bring your nasal spray. A simple over the counter saline solution like Ocean Spray is great at getting rid of nasal congestion. CPAP may be applied and having a clear nasal passage is very important. You may want to bring your prescription nasal spray also, such as Flonase, Nasonex, or Rhinocort…etc.
Bring your sense of humor. Sleeping in a strange place, covered in electrodes, with strangers watching you can cause stress and anxiety. Laugh about it with your technician during the hook-up process. Ask about funny stories that have happened to them during sleep studies. You will get to know your technician while breaking the ice.
Laughing about the situation rather than worrying about it will stop the anxiety and give you a better and more relaxed sleep study.
Call the sleep lab and ask if you have any questions.
Obstructive Sleep Apnea is dangerous and potentially life threatening. If you suspect that you or a loved one has sleep apnea, please consult with a physician immeditely and request a sleep study with possible CPAP.