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How to Get Ready for a Sleep Study and Sleep Comfortably

Updated on March 30, 2013

Placement of Sleep Study Wires and Electrodes

Glass face bust displaying areas wires are attached to a patient's head during a sleep study.
Glass face bust displaying areas wires are attached to a patient's head during a sleep study. | Source
Glass face bust displaying areas wires are attached to a patient's head during a sleep study.
Glass face bust displaying areas wires are attached to a patient's head during a sleep study. | Source
Glass face bust displaying areas wires are attached to a patient's head during a sleep study.
Glass face bust displaying areas wires are attached to a patient's head during a sleep study. | Source
Glass face bust displaying areas wires are attached to a patient's head during a sleep study.
Glass face bust displaying areas wires are attached to a patient's head during a sleep study. | Source

How to Prepare Before a Sleep Study

  • Pack a bag, just like going out of town for a night. Take any of the following items to ensure your comfort and all the things you generally need, are at hand.
  • Keep in mind what you plan to wear while sleeping in a more "public" area. The rooms are private, but the sleep tech will see you and so will the Sleep medicine doctor. Shorts and a t shirt or soft pajamas, jogging pants and top accommodate the wires and electrodes. Anything that is soft and comfortable Wires are often attached to your legs, so consider shorts.
  • Take glasses, contacts, contact case and eye solution. Take an extra set of clothing, especially when you have to go right to work in the morning. Include all things you normally use in the shower and in the morning to get ready for leaving. Take a comb, even if you don't normally use one. It helps to get the strong thick glue out of your hair. There is a remedy you can prepare and use after the sleep study. The remedy also requires combing after letting the mix sit in your hair for 15 minutes.
  • Bring your own pillow, but place an older cover on it. The glue may get on the fabric.
  • Things to avoid: Lotions, creams, hair products and remove all nail polish. Clothes that may expose private areas. Books or other reading material and electronic devices.
  • Avoid setting other appointments, in case you had a rough night and want to go home and sleep without wires.
  • Review the list of medications the doctor confirmed are OK to take during the study and include those in your bag.

What to Expect During Sleep

Prior to bedtime, the sleep tech will attach wires that transmit body signals and. They include movements of the eyes, chin, legs and chest. The chest will display heart arrhythmia the ones on the head will display the sleep stages and all disruptions.

Sleep techs explain the procedure as they hookup the wires and a small box. Often times, it is necessary to enter the room. Reasons include, your needs, requests, disconnect the box to allow restroom breaks and when a wire comes less or goes bad. On a more serious level, if a severely abnormal heart arrhythmia appears, the tech will immediately awaken the patient, have them sit up. They will contact the doctor for a plan of action. I have had a few patients require emergency care when this occurs. Chest pain accompined in addition to the heart activity and recommendation of the doctor.

Confirmed apnea means halfway through the night, the sleep tech may enter your room to apply the CPAP mask and machine. The rest of the night is spent adjusting the level till all apnea's stop. Often times the person will hit a recovery level of REM or sleep recovery for a much longer period of time. As one can imagine, this may be the first time in years the body reacted normal during sleep.

Turning may be more difficult, just try to move slowly. Restroom breaks require a little extra time while the tech disconnects the wires from the small box.

Adapting to the wires, for others adapting to CPAP treatment will take some time, but can be accomplished.

Sleeping and Sleep Aids During a Sleep Study

Some people may require a sleep aid to complete the study, but doctors try to avoid that. It is best to get the most accurate reading without sleep aids.

The goal is to get the best results that best represent how you normally sleep.

If TV, music or reading is your usual bedtime "sleep aid", they are disallowed during sleep time. One can engage in those activities during the hook up.

I have had a few patients experience some disconcerning reactions to Ambien when they don't normally take it. I had them focus on a more positive, happy experience and that seemed to improve the response. They main thing you want to keep in mind with medications like Ambien is they are designed for you to go to sleep and not get up till morning. With a sleep study, awakening will occur during the night. A few were in a state of sleepwalking during a restroom break, while on it. So I highly recommend trying to complete your study free of sleep aids.

Sleep Positions

Supine sleep position is lying on back
Supine sleep position is lying on back | Source
Prone sleep position, chest down and face down
Prone sleep position, chest down and face down | Source
Left side sleep position
Left side sleep position | Source
Right side sleep position and recommended side  for people with sleep apnea
Right side sleep position and recommended side for people with sleep apnea | Source

CPAP Nasal Pillow Example

CPAP Application

Sometimes during the first sleep study or on a second study, CPAP is applied to a confirmed sleep apnea patient and adjusted till no more apneas occur.

I will not cover this section in detail, as it is more applicable from a doctor's perspective, because it is a medical treatment for a medical condition.

Also, technologies change and advance in this field. I don't want to list anything that will outdated in a short time.

Applying CPAP during a Sleep Study

Doctor Reviews the Report and Provides a Diagnosis and Treatment Plan

In the morning the tech turns the report in so the doctor can review the full study. The patient will meet with the doctor for a final consult and treatment plan. When treatment is applicable, they will order the CPAP machine and mask from the medical equipment company. Upon delivery, training on using the machine happens.

What A Sleep Study Patient and Room Looks Like

Sleep Study on a Normal Sleep

Sleep Study on Severe Sleep Apnea

Vince & Associates - Clinical Sleep Studies

A markerVince & Associates, 10103 Metcalf Ave Overland Park, KS 66212 -
10103 Metcalf Avenue, Overland Park, KS 66212, USA
get directions

Clinical Research Studies. Including paid sleep studies.

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    • bridalletter profile image
      Author

      Brenda Kyle 4 years ago from Blue Springs, Missouri, USA

      That is a good thing Ed. It is a process to get the right equipment and than get used to it. Deep recovery sleep and good nights of sleep after that. Glad you stuck with the process!

    • ahorseback profile image

      ahorseback 4 years ago

      Great hub , I did two studies and have gone from c-pap - t0 Bi pap and am finally adjusting , 3 months ! 2 different masks ........so far ,, Its taken ahile but its finally starting to work !,,,,,,Ed

    • bridalletter profile image
      Author

      Brenda Kyle 4 years ago from Blue Springs, Missouri, USA

      Hi Sheri Faye, it is the only way to truly diagnose many of the sleep disorders and disturbances. Many people are very sleep deprived and need help with determining those problems, treating them and managing the care or sometimes just changing habits can improve some conditions. It is based on the EEG's performed on people with epilepsy, just less wires for sleep studies.

      Thank you for commenting.

    • Sheri Faye profile image

      Sheri Dusseault 4 years ago from Chemainus. BC, Canada

      Wow, that was interesting! I didn't know they could do a sleep study on people.

    • bridalletter profile image
      Author

      Brenda Kyle 4 years ago from Blue Springs, Missouri, USA

      Thank you LKMore01. Hopefully it will make it a little easier to go to. Helps to be prepared and takes out a lot of unknown expectations. There were a lot of people that I educated once they came in for the sleep studies; so the information could help some people considering it in the near future.

    • LKMore01 profile image

      LKMore01 4 years ago

      What an extremely fascinating and engaging HUB, bridalletter. Voted Up. Any one who reads this will be informed and better educated on sleep disorders.

    • paradigmsearch profile image

      Person of Interest 4 years ago from SoCal, USA

      I missed that nasal pillow video. Watched it. It is nice to be undoomed. :D

    • bridalletter profile image
      Author

      Brenda Kyle 4 years ago from Blue Springs, Missouri, USA

      No, not doomed paradigmsearch. That CPAP mask with the 'nasal pillows" would allow you to sleep prone or on your stomach. Not sure the regular one would, most likely it would loosen the seal and not work as well as it should.

    • paradigmsearch profile image

      Person of Interest 4 years ago from SoCal, USA

      So far, I've watched the CPAP video. I'll be back. I'm a tummy sleeper. I wonder how well I'd get along with a CPAP mask and machine. I am doomed...