How do I prepare for my sleep study?

You will receive specific instructions about how to prepare for your sleep study. Some general information is as follows:

  • Do not drink alcohol or consume caffeine-containing beverages and foods (examples: coffee, tea, colas, chocolate, energy drinks, protein bars) for at least eight hours before your study.
  • Tell your doctor about all medications you are taking. You may be asked to temporarily stop taking a medication before your study.

On the day of your study:

  • Keep to your normal meal times.
  • Do not take any naps.
  • Shower and wash your hair but do not apply conditioner, hair spray, gels, or other hair products. Do not apply creams, lotions, powders, perfume, aftershave/cologne, cosmetics or any other products to your face or body. These products can interfere with the recording by electrodes that are placed on your skin.

Typically you do not arrive at your sleep study location until early evening.

What should I bring to my sleep study?

  • Loose-fitting sleepwear for an overnight study; loose, comfortable clothing for a daytime study.
  • Personal toiletry items and a change of clothes for the next day.
  • Book or smartphone while waiting to start the study. Most sleep sites have televisions in the room.

What can I expect during an in-lab sleep study (PSG)?

On the night of your sleep study, you will be assigned to a private bedroom in a sleep laboratory. Near the bedroom will be a central monitoring area, where the technologists monitor sleeping patients.

You will be hooked up to equipment that might look uncomfortable. However, most patients fall asleep with little difficulty.

The equipment used in a sleep test includes:

  • Electrodes. Electrodes on your face, scalp and body send electrical signals to the measuring equipment. These signals, which are generated by your brain and muscle activity, are then recorded. EEG (electroencephalogram) electrodes measure and record brain wave activity. EOG (electro-oculogram) electrodes record eye movements. These movements are important in determining the different sleep stages, particularly rapid eye movement (REM) sleep. EMG (electromyogram) electrodes record muscle activity from the chin area and legs to identify abnormal movements in sleep and help in determining the presence of REM sleep.
  • A nasal-oral airflow sensor records airflow through your nose and mouth.
  • Belts placed around your chest and abdomen measure your breathing.
  • A bandage-like oximeter probe on your finger measures the amount of oxygen in your blood.
  • An ECG (electrocardiogram) records heart rate and rhythm.
  • A snore microphone records snoring activity.
  • A video recorder records body movements, which will be matched against the electrical signals recorded by the electrodes.

Cleveland Clinic is a non-profit academic medical center. Advertising on our site helps support our mission. We do not endorse non-Cleveland Clinic products or services. Policy