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What is a Sleep Test?

Do you need a sleep study? Read more to find out!

Do you need a sleep study? Read more to find out!

If you are having trouble sleeping, your doctor may request that you participate in a sleep test.  This test, which is also called a sleep study or polysomnogram, is used to determine if you are not getting the sleep you need because of a sleep disorder or other problem  The sleep test is painless, non-invasive, and doesn’t require you to study or do anything else except go to sleep.    Most sleep testing is conducted at a sleep testing facility like Valley Sleep Center.  Participants spend one night sleeping at the testing location while attached to sensors that measure and capture what is happening while you are sleep.   By looking at data points like your heart rate, eye movement, and brain activity, the sleep doctor can determine if there is an underlying sleep disorder that is disrupting your sleep.

In most cases, a sleep test refers to a polysomnogram, which is the most common type of sleep study conducted to diagnose sleep disorders.  However, there are other types of sleep studies that can be used to diagnose and treat specific sleep disorders.



This in-depth sleep study is conducted at a sleep center or lab and requires at least one overnight stay.  The testing is conducted over the course of the night while you are sleeping.  Sensors placed at different locations on your body record your blood pressure, heart rate, brain activity, and eye movements throughout the night.  Additionally, this test captures specific data related to your breath and breathing during sleep.  It measures the amount of oxygen in your blood, how much air is moving through your lungs, the movement of your chest, and noise made while sleeping including snoring.

The polysomnogram is often the initial sleep test conducted because it can be used to diagnose a variety of sleep disorders including sleep apnea.  Prior to the test, sensors are attached to various points on the body to capture the required data.   Although the sensors are connected to wires and attached to monitoring equipment, most people do not have issues falling asleep during the test.


Other Sleep Tests

The Multiple Sleep Latency Test (MSLT) is generally ordered after a polysomnogram has been completed.  This test is conducted during the day and is used to measure day time sleepiness.   Used to diagnose parasomnias like narcolepsy, the test is conducted several times over the course of a single day.

The Maintenance of Wakefulness Testing (MWT) tests how well you can stay alert.  Like the MSLT, this test is conducted during the day and can take most of the day.  Participants are asked to remain awake during the entire testing period and their ability to remain awake while sitting still and staring straight ahead is measured.

The Home-Based Portable Monitor Test is just like the polysomnogram, only this sleep test is conducted at home.  The testing equipment and information on how to perform the test will be provided by a sleep center professional upon picking up the equipment.

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Client Reviews

"I was especially impressed with Andrew the Respiratory Therapist who reviewed my study with me and answered my questions. Andrew thoroughly explained everything about the Cpap machine-from start to finish. I never felt rushed and was assured I could contact him with any additional questions or needs. Andrew told me he would follow up with a call in a week and he did. I believe this center performed the study appropriately and the added benefit of having Andrew teach me about the machine and what to expect was a bonus."

Candace M.

Scottsdale, AZ

"Great staff, they make you feel so at home. Every medical facility should be this nice. Felt like a nice hotel. Someone has great taste in decorating. Thanks for making us feel at home."

Steve N.

San Diego, CA

"I recommend them highly!! I took my 2 year old daughter for a sleep study and was very impressed. Our sleep technician was amazing with her, very patient and kind. The DVD we brought to watch while getting her hooked up got stuck in the TV and they vowed to return it. We got a call the next day checking on our daughter and saying how sweet she was, they mentioned the DVD. Several days later, we received the DVD plus a new copy of the Lion King with a nice note. They are very good at what they do and if they can make a 2 year old feel at ease, they can probably do the same with anyone!!"

Anthea S.

Tempe, AZ