There are no major, lasting problems from having this test.
Reasons for Test
This study is done to evaluate sleeping problems, such as:
Trouble falling or staying asleep—
Breathing that stops during sleep—
Problems falling asleep suddenly during the day—
- Nightmares and sleepwalking
- Problems with arm or leg movement during sleep
What to Expect
Prior to Test
The care team may meet with you to talk about:
- Any allergies you may have
- Current medicines, herbs, and supplements that you take and whether you need to stop taking them before the study
- Foods and drinks you may need to avoid, such as alcohol and items with caffeine
- How to wash your hair before the study
- What to wear for the study
Description of Test
You will arrive in the evening. You will be given time to relax in the room where you will sleep. Electrodes will be attached to your head, legs, and chest. Other monitors will be placed around your chest, near your nose and mouth, and on your finger. You will be able to read and relax until your bedtime.
For most of the night, you will be able to move and turn during sleep. But, you may be asked to try to sleep in a certain position for part of the night. You will be watched by video during the night. This will be done to make sure that the electrodes do not come loose. They can also be taken off to use the bathroom. Sometimes, the test may show that you can benefit from a certain treatment, such as
continuous positive airway pressure
(CPAP). This may be started midway through the night.
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The doctor may ask for an additional test for narcolepsy. This is known as the Multiple Sleep Latency Test (MSLT). You will need to stay for part of the next day. You will be asked to nap for up to 20 minutes every 2 hours. The time it takes you to fall asleep and the time it takes you to go into deep sleep will be measured.
The electrodes will be removed in the morning. Most people will be able to go home.
How Long Will It Take?
About 10 to 12 hours
Will It Hurt?
Results from this test may be ready right away or within two weeks. Your doctor will go over the results and discuss them with you.
Problems to Look Out For
There should not be side effects or lasting problems from this study. Call your doctor if you have any concerns.
If you think you have an emergency, call for medical help right away.