Skip to Content

Sleep Study


What you need to know about a sleep study:

A sleep study is a test to learn if you have a sleep-related breathing disorder (SRBD). A common example is obstructive sleep apnea. You may need a sleep study if you wake up often during the night, sleepwalk, or have night terrors. Seizures in your sleep, a movement or nerve disorder, or narcolepsy are also reasons for the test. A sleep study may also be called a polysomnography (PSG).

How to prepare for a sleep study:

Healthcare providers will put electrodes on you. These are sticky pads connected to wires. They record snoring, heartbeat, oxygen levels, and body movements while you are asleep. A sleep study may also be done at your home. Healthcare providers will tell you how to do a home sleep study. You may need to go to a sleep center before your home test to have electrodes put on. You will be given a portable monitor to take home for this test.

What will happen during the sleep study:

Your sleep study may be done as a single night or split night test. For a single night test, your sleep will be monitored by healthcare providers all night. Split night testing is done if you stop breathing at times during the first few hours of the test. Your healthcare provider may have you use a breathing machine called a CPAP for the rest of your test. CPAP is continuous positive airway pressure. The CPAP machine blows a gentle stream of air into a mask placed over your nose and mouth. The split night test with CPAP may help your healthcare provider know if this treatment will help your SRBD.

Contact your healthcare provider if:

  • You have questions or concerns about your test results, condition, or care.

Follow up with your healthcare provider as directed:

You will need to return to get the results of your PSG. You may need more PSG tests to see if treatment for your SRBD is working. Write down your questions so you remember to ask them during your visits.

© Copyright IBM Corporation 2021 Information is for End User's use only and may not be sold, redistributed or otherwise used for commercial purposes. All illustrations and images included in CareNotes® are the copyrighted property of A.D.A.M., Inc. or IBM Watson Health

The above information is an educational aid only. It is not intended as medical advice for individual conditions or treatments. Talk to your doctor, nurse or pharmacist before following any medical regimen to see if it is safe and effective for you.

Further information

Always consult your healthcare provider to ensure the information displayed on this page applies to your personal circumstances.