Dealing with Sleep Disorders: How Do Sleep Tests Work?

Sleep tests or sleep studies are often used to help diagnose and treat various sleep disorders, such as sleepwalking, insomnia or sleep apnea. Depending on the problems you have, your specific physiological needs and the results that the doctor might be looking for, sleep studies can be adjusted in length and can involve various machines and testing devices that can help gather as much relevant data as possible.

if you have trouble staying awake during the day, visit a sleep apnea doctor

The Basics of a Sleep Test or Sleep Study

A sleep test basically involves traveling to a specific location – or in some cases just inviting the doctor over to your house or apartment – to sleep while being monitored by an EEG and other types of machinery. The machines will provide your sleep doctor with important information about everything from your vital signs to your specific REM and non-REM sleep cycles.

Sleep studies are non-invasive, and they may require either a single night of study (if the doctor is able to gather enough information in that time), or recurring nights and sleep sessions that might be shorter or longer, depending on what is needed.

Prior to a sleep test, you might need to go through a process called sleep evaluation, during which a sleep apnea doctor determines whether or not you might be eligible or might need to take part in a sleep study in the first place.

The medical term for a sleep study is “polysomnogram,” which is basically defined as a non-invasive, pain-free procedure which sleep doctors use to diagnose and treat sleep-related ailments and disorders. Before you agree to participate in a sleep test, it’s important to ask the physician whether or not they are certified and licensed to conduct sleep studies – since a special certification is legally required for the procedure.

How Should You Prepare for Your Upcoming Sleep Study?

Typically, preparing for your sleep study simply involves being sleepy enough to actually fall asleep and refraining from using any products, methods or drugs that might hamper your doctor in their efforts of providing a viable diagnosis or getting enough data to be able to suggest helpful treatments for your sleep disorders.

Although most doctors will have a list of specific instructions they’ll need you to follow prior to arriving at the location where the sleep study will be held, it’s important to understand that sleep studies are oftentimes uniquely adjusted to the needs and specific traits of each individual person.

In most cases, it’s a good idea to avoid taking naps, drinking coffee or doing a lot of physical work or exercising for at least a couple of hours before you start the sleep study. It’s also worth asking your doctor whether or not you can bring in additional friends or family members to observe the study, whether you can take certain medicine that you normally take before bed, and whether you should avoid wearing your usual clothing or pajamas when you sleep. It’s also a good idea to discuss with your doctor whether your presence will be required after the study, or whether you can just get dressed and go straight to work.