A Sleep Study

What to expect at a Sleep Study

Photo taken at St. James Hospital, Leeds A sleep study (also called a Polysomnography), is usually carried out in a small private side ward at your General Hospital or Sleep Clinic. Various monitoring devices are attached to you. There does seems to be a lot of wires, but they are extremely small and don't hurt, though they do restrict your movement quite a bit. There is usually a television in your room, but I always took a book to read just in case.

Once you're wired up for the sleep study, it would be extremely difficult to go to the toilet as all the electrodes would have to be removed, so go beforehand. Otherwise, it would have to be the bottle.

You'll need the usual stuff, tooth-brush, towel and soap etc. You'll probably get a evening drink of tea, but don't expect a chocolate biscuit unless you're Robert Retford. This photo was taken at St. James Hospital, Leeds where I spent the night. The room was sparse but comfortable.

Note: There is no mask over your face, so there's nothing to worry about. A home sleep study is sometimes possible, depending on availability in your area. This is a small portable device easily carried. You are shown how to attach the sensors and connect everything up before taking it home for the night.

A typical Sleep Study Setup

Sleep Study details

Arrival time at the Sleep Centre ward is usually about 7.30pm. A nurse will take your details, then your height and weight are noted. A doctor then asks about your general health, and you're settled into your room. At about 11.00pm, a nurse connects up all the monitoring equipment, and you are left to sleep until morning. Wake up time is around 6.00am, when you may leave or stay for breakfast. This is convenient for anyone working that day.

A CPAP Evaluation Test

This is something quite different. You have to wear a mask similar to a pilot's mask, but it has to seal 100% around your nose and mouth. It's connected to a monitoring computer which records your breathing and adjusts the pressure accordingly to your needs.

This is very strange to wear and I had difficulty getting to sleep with it. It was like wearing a Aqua-Lung as it didn't give you air until you inhaled. This is what's called a negative pressure system. If you don't suck, you don't get any air. A CPAP machine is a positive pressure system that constantly feeds air at a higher pressure than normal, so there's always an excess.

Note: This information is not medical advice. Always see your doctor if you have a health problem.