You arrive at the sleep center in the evening for polysomnography (also called a sleep study or sleep evaluation) and stay overnight. You may bring items you use for your bedtime routine, and you can sleep in your own nightclothes.
The sleep center is set up like a bedroom. You don't share the room with anyone else. The room has a video camera, so the polysomnography technologists monitoring you can see what's happening in the room when the lights are out, and an audio system, so they can talk to you and hear you from their monitoring area outside the room.
While you sleep, a technologist monitors your:
- Brain waves
- Eye movements
- Heart rate
- Breathing pattern
- Blood oxygen level
- Body position
- Limb movement
- Snoring and other noise you may make as you sleep
All of these measurements are recorded on a continuous graph.
Polysomnography technologists monitor you throughout the night. If you need assistance, you can talk to them through the monitoring equipment. They can come into the room to detach the wires if you need to get up during the night.
Although you probably won't fall asleep as easily or sleep as well at the sleep center as you do at home, this usually doesn't affect the test results. A full night's sleep isn't required to obtain accurate polysomnography results.
In the morning, the sensors are removed, and you may leave the sleep center. You're given an appointment for a follow-up visit with the doctor who recommended the test. You can return to your usual activities after polysomnography.