How do I prepare for a sleep study?
To get ready for your sleep study and help make it successful, follow the tips below. Your doctor may modify or add to these instructions. Always follow the specific instructions from your doctor.
- Check with your insurance company. Make sure you call your insurance company to see what your financial responsibility will be. Some companies might require pre-authorization, or have specific tests they do or do not cover. Even though you will stay overnight, sleep studies are usually considered outpatient procedures.
- Take your usual medications, and bring them with you, including sleep aids. It is important that you sleep during this test. If you usually require a sleep aid (such as Ambien), bring it with you and take it as usual. If you do not have a prescription sleep aid, your doctor may recommend you bring an over-the-counter product such as Tylenol PM.
- Don’t drink alcohol or take any stimulants or sedatives the day of the test. Don’t drink or eat anything that contains caffeine after 3:00 pm the day of the test.
- Avoid naps the day of the test.
- Shower and shave before you come, as needed. It’s important to have clean, dry hair and skin so that electrodes and other sensors can be attached securely. Do not use cream rinse, conditioners, or oils in your hair. Clean all make-up and lotions off of your face. Shave as usual. Beards and mustaches are okay—just make sure they are also clean and dry.
- Bring or wear modest, 2-piece pajamas, or loose-fitting clothes like shorts and a t-shirt or sweats. Not only are all studies videotaped, but also the technicians will need access to place electrodes on your chest and stomach.
- Bring whatever you usually use to unwind before bedtime. This can be a book, a magazine, knitting, or crossword puzzles.
- Bring whatever else you need to get ready for bed, such as your toothbrush. You will have access to a shower. Feel free to bring your own pillow. Also, bring clothes and anything else you need to get ready in the morning.
- Eat dinner before you arrive.
- Bring your sleep diary, if you have one. If your doctor gives you a sleep diary or log, use it to record your sleep times and other information. Bring it to the test.