Sleep Studies

Sleep Disorders Center

A sleep study, also called a polysomnogram, is a multi-channel recording of sleep-wake physiology. A sleep study is ordered in cases of suspected:

  • Sleep apnea
  • Narcolepsy
  • Sleep walking
  • Other sleep disorders

Standard sleep studies include nighttime recordings of:

  • Brain wave activity
  • Eye movement
  • Chin and leg muscle activity
  • Airflow
  • Breathing effort
  • Oxygen level
  • Heart rate and rhythm

Audio/video recording is also used in selected cases. Daytime nap studies, including the Multiple Sleep Latency Test (MSLT) and Maintenance of Wakefulness Test (MWT), are sometimes ordered to evaluate excessive daytime sleepiness in those with suspected narcolepsy or other primary disorders of excessive daytime sleepiness.

What Happens During a Sleep Study?

Patients scheduled for a sleep study arrive at the sleep laboratory in the early evening. They are shown to a private bedroom where they will spend the duration of the night (and following day in some cases). The patient bedroom is designed and decorated to resemble a hotel room environment.

After the patient has settled into their bedroom, a sleep technologist spends approximately 45 minutes applying a variety of recording sensors used in the collection of physiologic data. After the technical hook-up, patient calibrations take place to verify proper technical application and function. The sleep recording generally begins at the patient's usual bedtime and ends at the patient's request the next morning. Patients have bathroom and shower access so that they may leave for work directly from the sleep laboratory.   

Following collection of sleep study data, a sleep technologist scores the record and provides a report of test statistics and graphs for the interpreting sleep physician to review. A final sleep study report, including diagnostic impressions and treatment recommendations, is then generated and sent to the referring doctor and other involved clinicians.

The Role of Sleep Technologists

The role of the sleep technologist during the sleep study is to:

  • Ensure a technically high-quality sleep recording
  • Explain the sleep study procedure to patients
  • Make patients as comfortable as possible throughout the sleep study

Pediatric Sleep Studies

There are a number of sleep disorders specific to children and adolescents and these conditions often require a unique approach to both evaluation and management.

For example, evaluating children for sleep apnea requires a unique testing environment that puts children and their parents at ease during an otherwise stressful experience. For this reason, the Sleep Disorders Center has pediatric testing rooms with child-friendly décor, animated DVD programs, assorted toys, and other special amenities designed to ensure a more comfortable and relaxing overnight stay. 

The evaluation of pediatric sleep apnea is also enhanced with utilization of specific medical testing devices, such as end tidal CO2 monitors, which are not routinely offered at other sleep laboratories. The Sleep Disorders Center also employs board-certified medical staff that can provide the often-complex medical and psychological needs of pediatric patients.  

For More Information

To find a doctor that specializes in sleep disorders, please use our Find a Doctor online tool, or for a physician referral call us at 1-800-516-3658.For more about Danbury Hospital, please visit the patient and visitor information section.