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What To Expect Before a Sleep Study

Before a sleep study, your doctor may ask you about your sleep habits and whether you feel well rested and alert during the day.

Your doctor also may ask you to keep a sleep diary. You'll record information such as when you went to bed, when you woke up, how many times you woke up during the night, and more.

You can find a sample sleep diary in the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute's "Your Guide to Healthy Sleep."

What To Bring With You

Depending on what type of sleep study you're having, you may need to bring:

  • Notes from your sleep diary. These notes may help your doctor.
  • Pajamas and a toothbrush for overnight sleep studies.
  • A book or something to do between testing periods if you're having a maintenance of wakefulness test (MWT) or multiple sleep latency test (MSLT).

How To Prepare

Your doctor may advise you to stop or limit the use of tobacco, caffeine, and other stimulants before having a sleep study.

Your doctor also may ask whether you're taking any medicines. Make sure you tell your doctor about all of the medicines you're taking, including over-the-counter products. Some medicines can affect the sleep study results.

Your doctor also may ask about any allergies you have.

You should try to sleep well for 2 nights before having a sleep study. If you're being tested as a requirement for a transportation- or safety-related job, you might be asked to take a drug-screening test.

If you're going to have a home-based sleep test with a portable monitor, you'll need to visit a sleep center or your doctor's office to pick up the equipment. Your doctor or a technician will show you how to use the equipment.

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Updated: March 29, 2012