FAQs About In-Center Sleep Studies
So you stop feeling so tired, and for better health.
Obstructive Sleep Apnea is one of the most common sleep disorders. Obstructive Sleep Apnea can cause excessive daytime sleepiness and snoring, and is associated with obesity, heart disease, high blood pressure, stroke and diabetes.
The biggest reason to have your sleep study is simply excessive daytime sleepiness – You feel more tired than you should. Excessive daytime sleepiness lowers the quality of life, affects relationships, hinders work performance, can cause personality issues such as irritability and lack of focus, and can create dangerous situations such as impaired driving. You may feel tired all day and nearly every day, and feel like you can’t live your life to the fullest. Diagnosing and treating a sleep disorder could give you back your energy, alertness, and enthusiasm – It could give you back your real life.
Snoring is another significant symptom. Snoring can be an issue for the bed partner and can cause discord, relationship issues and separate bedrooms. It can be embarrassing or make the snorer an object of ridicule. About 60% of people who snore have obstructive sleep apnea, and nearly everyone who has obstructive sleep apnea snores.
Obesity can also be related to sleep disorders. Sleep disorders can contribute to obesity due to low energy, daytime sleepiness and apathy. Obesity is a risk factor for Obstructive Sleep Apnea.
Sleep disorders are also related to other significant medical conditions. Obstructive Sleep Apnea is associated with heart disease, high blood pressure, stroke and diabetes.
The reason to have a sleep study is to find out why you’re sleeping poorly and what treatment options might help, so you can improve your quality of life and your health.
Yes, yes and yes. At our sleep centers, each patient has their own private room. The rooms are clean and comfortable. We have professional housekeeping and freshly laundered linen and duvet covers for each patient (of course!). We want the experience to be as comfortable, inviting and stress-free as possible. We aim for a comfortable, clean, hotel-like atmosphere.
Our technicians work from a separate room and monitor your sleep through a computer. The technician applies soft electrodes to your head and body before you go to sleep. There is also a video camera to monitor body position and associate body position with any sleeping issues.
For an update on COVID-19, please see this page: How We’re Addressing COVID-19
An overnight sleep study is a step towards better sleep and better health – That’s why your physician ordered the study for you. It’s also a relaxing and comfortable experience. For your overnight sleep test, you will come to one of our sleep centers, located in a medical office building or business center. The rooms are set up as bedrooms and you will have your own private bedroom, like a hotel room. It’s comfortable and clean. We have professional daily housekeeping and linen service. We have wi-fi and television options in all our centers. We have bathrooms in the suite but not in each room, and we don’t have showers. Our technicians monitor the study from another room.
We strive at all times to provide a clean, safe environment for our patients and staff, and during this period of coronavirus concern we have asked staff to be especially vigilant. You can find out more about our steps to reduce risks under the FAQ “Coronavirus – What we’re doing”. Please reschedule your appointment if you have had any of the following symptoms in the past 2 weeks: Runny nose, headache, cough, sputum production, fever, or chest/lung pain. Please reschedule your appointment if you have traveled outside the United States in the past 2 weeks. Please contact us to reschedule your appointment and we will reschedule at a future date outside the period of additional risk.
Please check the address of your appointment using the email or text messages we sent to you from Advanced Sleep Medicine Services, and please note any entry instructions such as an access code needed. Notifications from your medical group or insurance company may have an outdated address so please be sure to check using our email or message to you.
Your appointment will be at 9:00, 9:45 or 10:30 pm and you will stay overnight. The technician will wake you about 5:30 am and you will be on your way by about 6:00 am. When you arrive at the center, the technician will explain the process in detail and answer any questions you have. The study is painless. The technician will attach soft electrodes to your head, face, torso, arms and legs using a water soluble gel that you can wash off in the morning using warm water. The electrodes have wires and the technician will bundle the wires into a ponytail to help keep them out of the way. If you need to go to the bathroom during the study, you press the call button and the technician will disconnect the ponytail of wires. If your physician has ordered a titration study to see if a PAP device might help you to sleep better, the technician will wake you briefly in the middle of the night to put the mask on. It’s not oxygen- it’s just room air at a slightly higher pressure to help keep your airway open and to allow you to breath without obstruction.
We ask that you shower prior to the study and not apply skin lotion or makeup so your skin is clean and dry to help the electrodes remain in place. Please arrive with dry hair. Please wear 2-piece sleepwear with a top and bottom, such as 2-piece pajamas or gym shorts and a t-shirt. Boxer shorts alone are not acceptable.
If you are taking any medications, please ask your physician if you should continue these during the study. If you use supplemental oxygen, please ask your physician for instructions or continue to use the oxygen as your physician has prescribed. We recommend that you avoid caffeine and alcohol the day and evening before the study. Most patients sleep well during the test, and we find that nearly all patients sleep enough during the night so that we have enough sleep time and data for a successful test. Many patients tell us they slept better than usual during the test.
The electrodes and wires record brain activity, breathing effort, oxygen levels and movement of the arms, legs and eyes. After the study, our technicians score the data, then a physician interprets the data to make a diagnosis and possibly recommend treatment options. We send the signed report to your physician and your physician will discuss the results and any treatment approach with you. It takes 7 to 10 working days to score and interpret the data and send the report to your physician. Our technicians can’t tell you the results of the study.
If you need help getting in or out of bed, getting from one place to another or going to the bathroom, or have special needs, you will need to bring a caregiver, who will stay in the room with you. Some of our rooms have a 2nd bed for a caregiver or otherwise we provide a cot or recliner for the caregiver. Children under 18 require a parent, guardian or authorized adult to stay with them. We do not allow spouses or other individuals for companionship alone.
We have a no show fee of $150 (if applicable) if you cancel your appointment without giving us at least 48 hours’ notice. Please help us to provide the best care possible. The fee is not applicable for patients with government insurance including Medicare, Medi-Cal, Tricare or VA insurance and for some other insurances. If you are unable to attend your appointment due to illness, we waive the no show fee. Please contact us to reschedule your appointment if you have had any of the following symptoms in the past 2 weeks: Runny nose, headache, cough, sputum production, fever, or chest/lung pain.
Your sleep study will be a comfortable and relaxing experience. You’ll sleep even better knowing that you are taking an active step towards improving your sleep and your health. We look forward to seeing you.
We DO NOT require a negative COVID-19 test prior to the sleep study for PSG (polysomnography) studies. We DO REQUIRE a negative COVID-19 test prior to the sleep study for PAP titration studies.
For more information, please see this FAQ page: Do I need a negative COVID-19 test result prior to my sleep study?
Yes. To prepare for your appointment, we reserve a technician, location and other resources. If you don’t show up to your appointment, it means that another patient who needs services has not been able to get them as soon as they otherwise would. It may also mean that we have to cancel a technician and the technician may lose out on work that night. We have a no show fee of $150 (if applicable) if you cancel your appointment without giving us at least 48 hours’ notice.
If you are unable to attend your appointment due to illness, we waive the no show fee. Please do not attend your appointment if you have had any of the following symptoms in the past 2 weeks: Runny nose, headache, cough, sputum production, fever, or chest/lung pain. If you have had any of these symptoms in the past 2 weeks, please contact us to reschedule your appointment.
The fee is not applicable for patients with government insurance including Medicare, Medi-Cal, Tricare or VA insurance and for some other insurances. We don’t want to charge or collect a no show fee, but we do need advance notice if you do not plan to attend your appointment.
If you make an appointment, we count on you to keep that appointment. Please help us to provide the best care possible.
An in-center polysomnography (PSG) test takes place at one of our many convenient sleep center locations. These sleep centers offer all the comforts and amenities of home, including a private, comfortable room where you can relax and have a typical night’s sleep.
PSG records your brain waves, heart rate and breathing as you sleep. It also charts your eye movements, limb movements and oxygen in your blood. PSG can diagnose or rule out sleep disorders such as obstructive and central sleep apnea, restless leg syndrome (RLS) and more in adults and children.
In children, PSG may be used to diagnose or rule out suspected sleep apnea due to enlarged tonsils or adenoids; an obese child may have OSA due to excess fat around the airway.
A titration is a test that is used to determine your optimal positive airways pressure (PAP) settings. Proper PAP settings can eliminate most or all apnea events. It is performed when a patient has been previously diagnosed with sleep apnea through one of our sleep studies (either in-center or in-home) and have been placed on PAP the entire night.
To get a sleep study, you must see your physician and your physician must order the study. We can’t do any studies without a prescription from your doctor. Everything we do is based on the order from your doctor.
It can take 7 to 10 days after you see your doctor before we contact you to schedule your appointment. After you see your doctor, for some types of insurance including PPO, Medicare and Tricare, your doctor will send the prescription and other information directly to us. We will contact you with a pre-schedule call to get additional information about your insurance coverage and sleep symptoms. For other insurances, including HMO and Medi-Cal, your doctor will send the prescription to your medical group. Your medical group will review the information and send an authorization to us. It may take your medical group 7 to 10 days to send the authorization to us.
We can’t schedule your appointment until we have all the needed information. Once we have the needed information, we will contact you by text, email or phone to begin the scheduling process.
The easiest way to schedule is to follow the link in the text or email we send you and schedule yourself using our online scheduler. It’s a quick and easy process. You can also log in to the online scheduler here: CLICK HERE FOR ONLINE SCHEDULER You can also call us at (877) 775-3377.
We have more than 20 locations throughout Southern California. During scheduling, you will be able to choose a convenient location and a date and time that work for you. After you’re scheduled, we will send you a confirmation email with all the needed information. You’ll be scheduled having taken the first steps towards better sleep and better health!
Most sleep studies start in the evening. Most of our appointments start between 9pm and 10:30pm. There may be multiple patients scheduled per each technician at the sleep center. The technician will spend around 45 minutes with each patient completing the hook-up where electrodes are placed on the patient’s head, face and body.
Depending on the number of patients and the start time of the appointment, most PSGs will end at about 5:30am to 6:00am the following morning.
Two-piece pajamas (separate top & bottom). Undergarments do not qualify as pajamas (such as men’s boxers) and shorts or sleeping pants must be worn.
Even though you may have a favorite night gown or prefer to sleep au naturel, two-piece pajamas are a must for the comfort of the technician performing your study and the need to attach electrodes and leads in various positions (around your waist and legs, etc.).
Here are some examples of appropriate, two-piece pajamas to wear to a sleep study:
No–it is important that you arrive on time. Typically, you won’t be the only person completing a sleep study in the sleep center that night. Even though you’ll have a private room, the technician may have another patient that night. Setting up for the sleep study requires attaching multiple electrodes to different places on your body. This requires dedicated time and attention. If you are early or late for your appointment, this may disrupt your technician’s schedule for the night and impact your study or the study of another patient. Please stick with the appointment time provided, and call us (877-775-3377 ext. 180) if you’re going to arrive late.
- Pajamas (separate top and bottom)
- Toothbrush and toothpaste
- Book/magazine (to help get you settled to fall asleep or if you have to wait for a few minutes during set-up)
- Health insurance card, driver’s license or ID, and co-pay/co-insurance
- Snack/water bottle (if you need mid-night snacks or an early feeding bring a snack bar or piece of fruit. There will be water on-site, but it’s nice to have your own on-hand).
- Pre-study questionnaire. You can complete the questionnaires about your insurance and medical history online, or can you fill them out by hand when you arrive at the sleep center, but completing it beforehand will give you more time to settle in and ask your technician questions.
No, the technologist cannot give you the results of your sleep study. Each sleep study is first scored and then reviewed by an interpreting physician before a diagnosis is made. The technologist cannot provide any diagnosis or final PAP pressure, in the case of a titration study.
You will receive your results in about two weeks (10 business days). Each sleep study is scored by a technician and then reviewed by a sleep specialist. Please contact your referring physician to discuss your results and next steps.
We fax the results to your physician. If you would like, we can also send a copy of the report to you.
Our goal is to watch you sleep so that we can evaluate you for a sleep disorder. When a patient is unable to fall asleep during the evaluation, it precludes our ability to monitor their sleeping patterns. It is common for some patients to take sleeping pills to help achieve the goals of the study.
Points to consider before taking a sleeping aid before your sleep study:
- Continue to take any prescribed medications that you usually take (unless otherwise instructed by your doctor). If you usually take a medication at night, bring it with you to the sleep center.
- List all medication, prescribed or over-the-counter (including any sleep aids), that you have taken, on your medication list in your intake paperwork.
- We don’t know what effect the sleep aid may have on you, so please arrange for safe transportation home from the sleep center in the morning.
- Generally, sleep aids have little or no effect on the diagnosis’s made from your sleep study data, but the reasons for having the sleep study need to be considered. If you are having the sleep study to evaluate sleep disordered breathing, like obstructive sleep apnea, the sleep aid shouldn’t have any effect on your normal breathing patterns. Sleep aids may change your sleep architecture like reducing the latency to sleep onset, altering the depth of sleep, changing the percentage of time spent in some sleep stages and increasing your total sleep time or sleep efficiency which could impact your diagnosis for other sleep disorders like insomnia.
It’s best to talk to your doctor if you have any concerns. Most importantly, please make sure that you include the sleep aid, if you decide to take it, on your medications list.
We don’t recommend drinking before your sleep study
Alcohol impacts sleep; therefore, it may alter your results. For example, some people only have sleep apnea in REM sleep, so if alcohol were to cause you to miss REM sleep during your sleep study, you may have a false negative result.
If you have mild sleep apnea, it may appear worse.
If you’re coming to the sleep center for a titration study, you may be titrated at a different pressure than is required for a normal night of sleeping.
If you’re a smoker and have scheduled or are considering scheduling a sleep study, you’re probably worried about how you’ll make it through the night. Our technical director, Jonathan Sherrill addresses your concerns in this post.
Can I take a smoke break during my overnight sleep study (PSG)?
No. Even if you’re a really heavy smoker, we can’t allow you to leave the facility to smoke in the middle of your sleep study.
Polysomnography measures multiple signals such as breathing, heart rate, eye movements, and more, via electrodes that are placed on your head, face, around your chest and on your legs (learn more about different types of sleep studies and the disorders they diagnose here). It wouldn’t be feasible for the technician to remove the sensors every time a patient needed a cigarette break. Additionally, since the studies take place at night, the access to the sleep centers is often restricted and secured. Leaving the sleep center and then returning to complete the study at night is not possible.
What if I’m having a daytime MSLT after my overnight study- can I smoke then?
You still can’t smoke during your overnight sleep study, but we would allow you to leave the facility to smoke during breaks between naps (learn more about how MSLT daytime studies are used to diagnose or rule out narcolepsy here).
American Academy of Sleep Medicine guidelines require that you stop smoking at least 30 minutes before the start of your next scheduled nap. You would need to coordinate this with your daytime technician.
However, nicotine can contribute to insomnia and since the MSLT specifically measures the latency to sleep onset (how long does it take you to fall asleep?) it may alter the results.
Can I smoke an electronic cigarette during my sleep study?
No. Electronic cigarettes or vaporizers cannot be used in our facilities at any time. For daytime studies, you would follow the same protocol listed above for regular cigarettes.
There are no restrictions for nicotine patches and gum. Please list all medications on your paperwork when you arrive for your sleep study.
What about marijuana and alcohol?
Neither marijuana nor alcohol are allowed to be consumed in our facility during any of our testing. If a patient consumed alcohol or marijuana ahead of the appointment we wouldn’t refuse the study unless the patient’s behavior was inappropriate.
Again, please list all medications on your paperwork when you arrive for your sleep study.