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What to Expect At Your Sleep Study

In a study from the Center for Disease Control and Prevention, 38 percent of adults living in New York reported getting less than the recommended seven hours of sleep per night. The CDC identifies daily sufficient sleep as one of the five key health behaviors for preventing chronic disease. 

“Poor sleep can lead to an increased risk for multiple medical issues, in addition to feeling poorly the next day. Depending on the cause, poor sleep can increase your risk for heart attack, stroke and other medical issues, just as much as untreated high blood pressure, elevated cholesterol and cigarette smoking,” said Director of the DENT Sleep Center, Dr. Marc Frost.

Insufficient sleep can be caused by a number of factors, many of which can be attributed to lifestyle habits such as late night electronic use or an inconsistent bedtime routine. However, in some instances poor sleep can be caused by a medical condition that must be diagnosed and treated by a medical professional. The first step in identifying if you have a sleep disorder is to consult with your primary care provider to decide if you should participate in a sleep study.

For many, a sleep study can seem overwhelming and intimidating. We asked Doug Lukaszewski, a sleep technician in the DENT Sleep Center, commonly asked questions about sleep studies, to clear up some of the common misconceptions surrounding the diagnostic test. 

1. Do I need a referral from my provider for a sleep study?

Yes, the DENT Sleep Center does require a referral from a physician. Once the DENT Sleep Center team has received the referral, they will seek authorization from the insurance company prior to scheduling.

2.  What Should I Bring to a Sleep Study? 

 All you need to bring to your sleep study are clothes to sleep in.

“Whether it is pajamas or shorts and a T-shirt, something you feel comfortable in will work best. Please do however, make sure whatever you bring to wear is appropriate,” said Lukaszewski.

Additionally, bring all medications that you usually take at night, none will be provided for you. Pillows and blankets are supplied, however you are welcome to bring one with you. 

It is important to remember to take everything you bring to the lab home with you. All the DENT Sleep Center rooms have a restroom that include a shower. If you intend to take a shower in the morning, towels, body wash, and shampoo are provided. Other toiletries are also provided (toothpaste, toothbrush, combs.) 

3. What time do sleep studies normally begin?

Patients are asked to arrive by 8:30 pm and upon arrival are escorted to their private rooms. After paperwork is completed, the sleep technician will apply all of the devices needed to monitor your bio information while sleeping, this process usually takes around 30 minutes. 

Patient should expect to be in bed anytime between 10:00-11:00 pm, and awakened at 5:30 am. 

4. Is there an alternative to having a sleep study done in the sleep lab or office?

The DENT Sleep Center does perform home sleep studies. At home sleep studies are very simple and utilize easy to use devices. Patients are taught how to use the device, to use for their sleep study that night. Information is stored on the device while you are sleeping and is downloaded by the technician. The information is then interpreted by a physician who specializes in sleep disorders. 

5. What are a few common conditions that would bring a person into the Sleep Center?

  • Obstructive sleep apnea
  • insomnia
  • narcolepsy
  • periodic limb movements
  • somnambulism (sleep walking)
  • REM behavioral disorder

6. What happens if you can’t fall asleep?

Although the vast majority of patients do get a sufficient sleep in the office, a very small amount do not sleep. In this case, the physician can order another study or the patient can try an at home sleep study.

“Keep in mind the home sleep study devices are intended to almost exclusively diagnose sleep apnea, so there are limitations as to what it can do,” added Lukaszweski. 

The content of this post is intended for general educational and informational purposes only; it does not constitute medical advice.  Readers should always consult with a licensed healthcare professional for diagnosis and treatment.