Preparing for a Sleep Study? Here’s What You Should Know.

Jul 02, 2023
Preparing for a Sleep Study? Here’s What You Should Know.
Having a medical test on the horizon can feel overwhelming. Fortunately, sleep studies are fairly straightforward — and you get to sleep through it! Here’s what to expect from these tests and how to prepare for your session.

People often take sleep for granted. But for many, quality ZZZs remain out of reach. In fact, up to 70 million Americans struggle with sleep disorders, and 1 in 3 don’t get the sleep recommendations required for optimal health. 

Unfortunately, a lack of sleep increases your chances of developing numerous issues, ranging from heart disease, diabetes, and high blood pressure to obesity, stroke, and depression.

That’s where a sleep study can help.

Our team uses advanced technology to perform sleep studies at Northwest Pulmonary and Sleep Medicine in Algonquin, Illinois. And the best part? They’re completely painless, so you can sleep right through them! 

Do you have a sleep study on the horizon? Here’s what you should know.

Why sleep matters

A lot happens within your brain and body while you sleep, which is why you spend about one-third of your life in this state. While you’re at rest, many bodily processes are hard at work doing the following:

  • Storing new information in the brain
  • Ridding the brain of toxic waste
  • Repairing and regrowing cells in the body
  • Restoring energy in your system
  • Releasing essential molecules, such as proteins and hormones
  • Regulating emotion

To accomplish this, your body cycles through four different sleep stages several times throughout the night. Each stage varies in length, but they typically repeat 4-5 times during a sleep period lasting 7-9 hours.

The precise amount of sleep you need varies based on your age. However, not getting enough quality sleep can hinder your body from functioning properly, which can compromise your health and wellness.

How a sleep study works

As the name implies, a “sleep study” involves studying your sleep. And to get the most detailed picture, it relies on a variety of technologies to capture information that analyzes important body and brain functions that occur during sleep.

When tracking your sleep, our team often uses electroencephalogram (EEG) and movement sensors. An EEG can track your brain waves, while movement sensors can capture physical readings, such as:

  • Heart rate
  • Breathing rate
  • Oxygen levels
  • Eye movement
  • Snoring
  • Body movements

And you can rest easy — literally. Both EEG and movement sensors work in completely noninvasive ways that are easy to apply and remove. Once in place, this technology tracks your sleep all night long. We perform sleep studies at our state-of-the-art facility, and we offer at-home options as well.

How to prepare for your sleep study

When scheduling your sleep study, talk with your provider about any prescription or nonprescription medications you may take, including herbs, pain relievers, and cold medicines. Your provider can offer personalized guidance on whether they will interfere with your test results.

On the day of your sleep study, our team recommends doing the following:

  • Waking up earlier than usual
  • Avoiding anything with caffeine, including chocolate, energy drinks, tea, and coffee
  • Following your regular exercise routine
  • Eating and snacking as normal
  • Relaxing for 1-2 hours to prepare for sleep
  • Minimizing exposure to screens before bedtime, including phones, tablets, and televisions
  • Starting the test when you feel drowsy or sleepy

If your study takes place at our facility, you should bring your own pillow and overnight bag. Bring pajamas, fresh clothes for the next day, and any medications you may need. Basically, pack as if you were staying at a hotel.

After you complete your sleep study, we’ll review all of the data to determine the presence of a sleep disorder. Once we reach a diagnosis, we’ll discuss your results and the best course of action.

Could you benefit from a sleep study? To learn more, call 815-584-0976 or book an appointment online with Northwest Pulmonary and Sleep Medicine today.