So your doctor recommends you undergo a sleep study, but what should you expect? Though you may have some anxiety about the experience, take a few moments, read on and lay those fears to rest.What Is the Purpose?
Sleep studies, or polysomnograms, are tests to diagnosis sleep disorders. They generally involve spending the night sleeping at a sleep laboratory or sleep center. Typically, these studies will be ordered after you have seen a healthcare provider at a clinic visit and have discussed your sleep problems. These tests are the best means in understanding how you sleep.Before Your Visit
Prior to arriving for your sleep study, there are some important preparations that should be made. Most sleep laboratories will have patients arrive in the early evening hours, but check with your center before your appointment. If you work nights, some facilities are able to accommodate studies during the day. It will be important to avoid caffeine, alcohol and naps the day of your study, as these may interfere with your ability to sleep.Restrictions on What to Bring
It will be important to check with your sleep center to see if they have special restrictions for you. In general, patients are encouraged to bring comfortable sleepwear, their own pillows or favorite blankets and other “comfort items” that may help you sleep (such as your childhood teddy bear). Unfortunately, pets and bed partners will not be accommodated. If there is something you can’t sleep without, it may not hurt to ask ahead of time.What to Expect at the Sleep Center
There are hundreds of sleep centers across the country, and each one will vary some in its accommodations. Some are based in hospital wards, others in free-standing buildings and, still others, in empty hotel rooms. There will be a bed, bathroom facilities and the equipment necessary to complete the study. There may be bedroom furniture, a television and a range of other amenities. Some rooms are sparse and others are extravagant. If you are curious about what the rooms look like, ask to arrange a visit during the daytime.