Sleep Lab FAQs

Sleep Lab FAQs

What happens in a sleep lab?

Answer:  A physician can get a better understanding of a sleep disorder when they do a sleep study on a patient. A sleep lab is where a patient goes to a comfortable environment where they are connected to sensors and go to sleep.

As the patient sleeps comfortably a Sleep Technologist will be in another room nearby monitoring all of the brain activity and other bodily functions as you sleep. A sleep study is a collection of multiple data recordings while you sleep, so it is called a polysomnogram. A Board Certified Sleep Specialist can look at the information and determine what goes on when you sleep.

When a person goes in for a sleep study they will be checked in by staff and asked to abide by some general rules that will be beneficial for the study.  Avoiding caffeine, foods after a certain time, and excess electronic use will be essential elements for an accurate and successful study.

What is a sleep lab?

Answer: A sleep lab is a laboratory that is used in order to facilitate a sleep study. A sleep study is performed to detect problems that can occur during sleep. Many patients suffer from sleep disorders that cause health problems. A sleep study will allow the physician to identify any sleep disorders that may be affecting your health. Once identified, you and your physician can take action against the problem with a suitable treatment plan.

The main goal of the sleep study is to experience a natural night of sleep that is as uncomplicated and comfortable as possible.

A Sleep Technologist will place electrodes on your head and body to take measurements of the way that your body functions as you sleep. The measurements are recorded to be evaluated and deciphered by a Registered Sleep Technologist and Board Certified Physician.

Once the information is gathered the polysomnogram is complete. Your physician will contact you to implement a method of treatment.

What is a sleep technologist?

Answer: A Sleep Technologist is a person that has been trained and certified to facilitate sleep studies for patients. Some of the tasks that a Sleep Technologist will perform are:

  • Make patients feel comfortable
  • Attach electrodes to the patient
  • Maintain and check equipment
  • Verify accurate data signals for the duration of the sleep study 

The Sleep Technologist will check the patient into the lab and make them as comfortable as possible. When it is time for the patient to go to bed and get the study underway, the technologist will attach the electrodes that collect information to the patient along with the other monitoring devices.  

As the patient sleeps the Sleep Technologist will monitor the patient, the equipment, and the status of the equipment throughout the night.

The technologist will awaken the patient in the morning after the test is done (if need be) and assist them with removing the equipment and checking out of the lab.

What tests will I undergo in a sleep lab?

Answer: While a sleep study will take place in the sleep lab, as far as any type of testing, it is a manner of perspective. Polysomnography will be conducted with the help of a polysomnogram.

The technologist will attach electrodes and other equipment to certain areas of the head, face, chest, and legs so that the electric impulses from the body will transport information to the equipment. This equipment will collect information such as:

  • Brainwave activity
  • Heart rate
  • Oxygen level in blood
  • Breathing activity
  • Eye movement
  • Leg movement
  • Teeth grinding

Once the equipment is attached the patient will lay down and go to sleep. When the test has been completed a Board Certified Sleep Physician will interpret the sleep study data and sign a comprehensive report to review with you.

How long do you have to sleep during a sleep study?

Answer:  Although it may be hard to believe, most of the people that participate in a sleep study fall asleep without any problems. In order for the study to be effective, a person does not have to get a full 8 hours of sleep. Optimally you should go through your sleep cycle at least 2-3 times.  5 or 6 hours can be effective for some people. However, the closer a person gets to an 8-hour sleep session the more accurate information the technicians will be able to get.