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To prepare you for your sleep study, CPAP.com has created an Introduction to the Sleep Lab video. To watch this video, click the "Videos" tab below. We recommend you view this video prior to your sleep lab visit.
Your doctor referred you to a sleep lab to be able to diagnose and treat your sleep problems. A sleep lab looks like a normal bedroom, but it is equipped with instruments to measure your breathing and movements. During your sleep study, a sleep technician will gather necessary information from a separate room. This is to provide you with comfort and privacy. While in the sleep study, monitors will be affixed to your face and your legs. The monitors are not uncomfortable and are essential to diagnose sleep apnea and other sleep related issues. The results of the test will make up your polysomnogram. Please Note: During the night, or in a separate study, your sleep tech will bring you a CPAP mask to help improve your sleep. Pressure will be increased gradually as you need more air to open your passageway.
Sleep Study FAQs
- What is a Sleep Study (Polysomnography)?
The Sleep Study (Polysomnography) is the gold standard for the diagnosis of several sleep disorders including, sleep apnea, restless leg syndrome, and narcolepsy. The results of the test are referenced as a polysomnogram which is frequently abbreviates as PSG.
Polysomnography is conducted in a sleep center, hospital or in a person's home. The test is usually performed at night to record the person's normal sleep pattern. Electrodes are placed on the scalp, the outer edge of the eyelids, and to the skin on the chin in preparation for the test.
Characteristic patterns from the electrodes are recorded during three stages: while you are awake, while your eyes are closed, and while you are asleep. Also, a computer is used to record the time it takes to fall asleep, the time it takes to enter the REM cycle, the body movement, the breathing patterns, and the sleep architecture.
The person gathering and scoring the data is called a Polysomnographic Technician.
- What should I expect during my Sleep Study?
- CPAPtalk.com has created an "Introduction To The Sleep Lab" video that explains the process of verifying, diagnosing and treating Sleep Apnea. If you are curious about the process or would like to know what to expect during your sleep study you can view the video in the Videos Tab of this page.
- What is titration, as it relates to sleep studies?
If a sleep study determines you have obstructive sleep apnea (OSA), you will need a "titration study" to determine the pressure level required to maintain your airway during sleep. A titration study may take place during the same night as your diagnosing sleep study or it may be scheduled for a later date.
Titration is a scientific lab term, meaning to slowly add a little bit more of something until you reach a desired effect. During your titration study, a skilled technician will monitor your sleep and slowly increase the air pressure on a CPAP machine until you are able to sleep without or with few sleep events (apneas and hypopneas). Your pressure needs vary throughout the night, so an overnight sleep study is required to prescribe you the correct pressure.
Your prescribed CPAP single pressure setting will be set to the highest level you needed during the night. By prescribing the highest pressure, your doctor hopes to prevent as many sleep events as possible. The downside of this approach is that you will have the highest pressure at all times even when it's only necessary for part of the night.
APAPs offer technologies which allow the pressure to be adjusted on a breath by breath basis, which you may find helps your therapy.
- Do sleep tests require prescriptions?
- Yes. Both CPAP.com and Traditional Sleep Labs work closely with doctors to make the transition of paperwork seamless for the patient.
- Where can I get a sleep study close to where I live?
We provide a CPAPtalk.com tool to help you find sleep labs in your area. Simply click the link and enter your address or zipcode to find one near you.
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- How is Sleep Apnea diagnosed?
An overnight sleep study is usually suggested when a diagnosis of obstructive sleep apnea is suspected. The sleep test is typically conducted in a specialized sleep lab by a sleep doctor and a respiratory therapist. The test is called a Polysomnogram (PSG) or Polysomnography test.
The following paragraph describes common signs and symptoms of sleep apnea. Please Note: It is common that people are unaware of their sleep apnea. In many cases, they do not realize they have difficulty breathing in their sleep. The obstructed breath while sleeping is usually discovered by someone else.
Grasping for air or suddenly losing your breath while sleeping, may be an indicator of sleep apnea. Also, snoring can be a significant sign that you are struggling with sleep apnea. However, many conditions can lead to snoring, so it is not an absolute symptom of sleep apnea. Other signs and symptoms include: daytime exhaustion, drowsiness, lack of concentration, headaches, impotence or decreased sex drive, moodiness, lack of energy, acid reflux (gastro-esophageal reflux), restless sleep, night sweats, memory problems, nighttime choking, chest pain, swelling of the legs in the obese, grogginess upon waking, anxiety, depression, and increased urination at night. Some people first learn of their sleep apnea when they fall asleep at the wheel of a car, or are involved in a car wreck caused by the side effects of having untreated sleep apnea.
- What questions should I ask at my sleep study?
- Did I have any central apneas? How many?
- Were there any comorbidities? What were they?
- Did I breathe or leak through my mouth? How often? What do you recommend to prevent it?
- Did I exhibit positional sleep apnea (PSA)? Was my apnea more severe in one sleeping position as compared to others? Is my pressure requirement higher in one position as compared to others? (Often sleep apnea is more severe when sleeping on the back.)
- Is there anything else unusual about the results?
- How will I know my therapy is preventing apneas?
- I would like to own a data-capable machine and software to monitor apneas, hypopneas and mask leak. Will you help me with the appropriate prescription?
In addition to the questions:
- What terms should I be familiar with before my Sleep Study?
- You can check out our Learning Center Definitions Page to become familiar with some common sleep apnea terms.
- Stages of Sleep
- Stage 1: The lightest stage of sleep. Transitional stage from wake. Stage 1 shifts: The number of times the sleep stage changed to stage 1.
- Stage 2: The first true stage of sleep.
- Stages 3-4: The deepest, most restorative sleep.
- Stage REM: The dreaming stage; Normally occurs every 60-90 minutes.
- How Much Does a Sleep Study Cost?
Overnight sleep studies in a sleep lab can cost anywhere from $600 to $5,000, depending on the center where the testing is done and insurance rates. Home sleep studies are quickly becoming more popular, because a person can conduct them in the comfort of their own home and they cost much less than tests conducted in a sleep lab. Some home sleep studies can cost as little as $125, depending on insurance rates.
- What if I Can't Sleep During My Sleep Study?
This is a common fear among people in the process of getting diagnosed with Sleep Apnea. For a home sleep study, the test is conducted by hooking only a few different sensors to the body. They are non-invasive, and it's not intended to be so uncomfortable a person can't sleep. Most people are able to fall asleep with little trouble. In a sleep study conducted in a sleep lab, a person may feel like the environment will be set up like a sterile hospital room. This is usually not the case. A person can bring comfort items like a favorite blanket or pillow, and a book or magazine to read. This can make it easier to fall asleep and most people do.
The fear of not being able to sleep can cause anxiety, and anxiety can keep a person awake. To help combat this, it's a good idea to pretend the sleep lab is a hotel room, and this may help resolve some of the anxiety. A person may not sleep well in the sleep lab, but most people sleep enough for the test to provide the doctor or care professional with the data needed to make a diagnosis.
- How Do I Prepare for My Sleep Study?
Preparing for a study doesn't have to be hard, but there's one goal everyone should have as they pack: what's needed to fall asleep? The goal of the sleep study is to get to sleep, and in order to do this, a person needs to feel comfortable and at home. If a person is used to having certain comforts while falling asleep-- bring it! Doing so will help a person fall asleep more easily.
The day of the test, a person should not nap, consume caffeine, or drink alcohol. Doing so can make it harder to sleep, and consuming caffeine and alcohol can interfere with the data a sleep study collects.
- How Does a Home Sleep Study Work?
A sleep study comes in a kit with a few different sensors, each measuring different things. Typically, a person will get some electrodes for the chest, an oxygen sensor for the fingers. Sometimes it can come with a chest belt measuring breaths, and a nasal cannula for measuring airflow. All of these sensors are hooked up to a tiny computer, recording the data. When the night is over, the sensors are sent back to the sleep lab for analysis and the results are sent to the physician or care provider. From there, the provider can make a diagnosis.
- What Is a Sleep Lab or Sleep Clinic?
A sleep lab is a place intended to measure disturbances in a person's sleep. Sleep labs conduct in-house analysis of breathing, heart rate, oxygen levels, and can even measure neurological activity. In most cases, a diagnosis can be made with a home sleep study, but there are times where a person may need to go to a sleep lab. If a doctor is concerned about conditions other than Sleep Apnea, testing for these conditions may require doing the sleep study in a lab.
Sleep Study Video
CPAP Users Say
CPAPtalk.com CPAP User Discussions
Did You Know?, Sleep Study
- Treating Sleep Apnea can have a positive affect on cardiovascular health.
- Improvements of Type II Diabetes symptoms have been found in some patients once they begin treating their Sleep Apnea with CPAP therapy.
- Oximeters can detect the oxygen saturation in your blood, which is also a good indicator of how your therapy is going.
- CPAPtalk.com is home to over 40,000 CPAP users who are happy to share their stories and help you find a solution to your CPAP trouble.
Sleep Study Articles
CPAPtalk.com Wiki Articles
- Diagnosis and Initial Management of Obstructive Sleep Apnea Without Polysomnography: A Randomized Validation Study.
- Home Diagnosis of the Obstructive Sleep Apnoea/Hypopnoea Syndrome.
- Evaluation of a Portable Device for Diagnosing the Sleep Apnoea/Hypopnoea Syndrome.
- Home Diagnosis of the Obstructive Sleep Apnoea/Hypopnoea Syndrome.