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What To Expect During An Overnight Sleep Study

Many health conditions may be triggered by not getting enough sleep. Therefore, when a person has issues such as insomnia, restless leg syndrome or even depression, one of the first things a doctor may ask about is how much sleep the patient is getting. If the doctor feels the patient may be getting an inadequate amount of sleep, he may recommend the patient have an overnight sleep study performed. This is often done at a medical facility known as a sleep clinic. This is what one can expect to happen when having an overnight sleep study performed at a sleep clinic.


It is not uncommon for the patient to be asked to arrive at the sleep clinic a couple of hours before his normal bedtime. This allows for time for him to get settled in and get fully prepared to begin the sleep study. The patient can bring his own pajamas or favorite blanket and pillow from home if he likes. If the patient takes nighttime medications, these should be brought as well. It is best for the patient to feel as comfortable as possible so he will be more likely to be able to go to sleep. However, all electronics, such as a television in the room, cell phones, or laptop computers are to be turned off at a specific time to ensure the patient is not too distracted to sleep.


Once the patient has gotten into bed, he will be hooked up to several sensors that will be connected to machines that record various things while he sleeps. These sensors will be attached to the patient's head and several areas of the body. The sensors may record heart rate, breathing, and how much sleep the patient actually gets. Brain activity, eye movement, oxygen levels, and the moment when the patient goes from light sleep to deep sleep is also monitored by the sensors. At some sleep clinics, a sleep technician also watches the patient sleep during the overnight sleep study. The technician will record how often the patient wakes up or tosses and turns during the night.

Wake Up Time

Normally, an overnight sleep study lasts around eight hours. This is because eight hours is the recommended amount of time that is considered adequate sleep. However, if the patient wakes up before the eight hours is complete and simply cannot go back to sleep, the study may end early. Once the sleep study is finished, the patient is free to return home and will be contacted later to discuss the results with his family physician.

Overnight sleep studies are often very helpful in helping patients start getting better sleep. When the problem causing the lack of sleep is discovered, this may be corrected so the lack of sleep can be resolved. Contact a facility like Elkview General Hospital in your area for more information.