Frequently Asked Questions
Before the Sleep Study
- What is a sleep study?
- A sleep study is a non-invasive test where your brain waves and sleep patterns are monitored by a trained sleep technician. While you sleep, we collect data that will help us understand your sleep better. A treatment plan is put together and you will follow up with our Sleep Specialist or your referring physician to continue your care.
For your sleep study, you will spend the night in a private bedroom.
- What is involved in a sleep study?
- Sticky patches called sensors are placed on your scalp, face, chest, limbs and a finger. While you sleep, these devices record your brain activity, eye movements, heart rate and rhythm, blood pressure, and the amount of oxygen in your blood.
Elastic belts are placed around your chest and abdomen. They measure chest movements and the strength and duration of each exhaled breath.
The wires will be attached to sensors that transmit data to a computer in the next room. The wires are very thin and flexible and are bundled together to minimize discomfort. You will be able to roll in any direction.
Although we call the procedure of attaching these items the “hook-up” process, there are no hooks involved and no needles. The hook-up is not painful and is designed to be as comfortable as possible. Many people ask us how they will be able to sleep while connected to these sensors and belts. Most people find that once they lie down in bed, they do not notice the wires and can sleep in a variety of positions comfortably. The sensors are gathered into a “pony tail” above your head so that you can change position in bed almost as easily as you would at home. The technician will explain all the procedures and will be happy to answer your questions about the study.
- Are sleep studies safe?
- Yes, we simply monitor your brain and muscle activity, sleeping position, and breathing while you are sleeping. There are no needles, drugs or other invasive procedures. Well-trained sleep technologists will monitor your entire sleep-testing period from a nearby room.
- Will I be comfortable?
- Yes, you will stay in a private, comfortable, home-like bedroom with a Select Comfort Sleep Number ® queen size bed. You can wear your usual bed clothes and your may bring your own pillow if you prefer. You can read at bedtime. A shower is available if you wish to shower after your sleep session. For many, our private, comfortable, home-like setting is preferred over a hospital environment.
- What happens during a pediatric sleep study?
- To measure breathing and sleep, sensors and belts will be attached to your child’s head, near the nose, mouth, chest, abdomen, finger, and legs. These sensors will allow us to record his or her breathing and sleeping patterns. Attaching the sensors is painless and involves no needles, but there will be a lot of stickers and tape. Paste is used to attach the sensors to your child’s scalp. Please wash your child’s hair before the study and do not use any gels, mousse, sprays, or lotions, as these may interfere with the testing and disrupt your child’s study. When the study is finished, the paste attaching the sensors will easily wash off. Children who are prepared for the study often have a better experience than those who are unprepared. That’s why it’s a good idea to talk with your child about the study a few days beforehand, and let him or her know what to expect. Give your child time to ask questions and offer plenty of reassurance. Your attitude can greatly affect how your child feels about the study, so be positive and confident. You are welcome to call and schedule an appointment to tour the sleep center before the night of the sleep study. If you have any questions the night of the study, our sleep study technicians can assist you during your stay.
- Is sleep apnea dangerous?
- Sleep apnea can be life threatening and needs to be taken very seriously. It is also very common, as common as adult diabetes, and affects more than 12 million Americans, according to the National Institutes of Health.
Because of the lack of awareness by the public and healthcare professionals, the vast majority of people remain undiagnosed and therefore untreated, despite the fact that this serious disorder can have significant consequences.
Untreated, sleep apnea can cause:
- High blood pressure
- Cardiovascular disease
- Memory problems
- Weight gain
Moreover, untreated sleep apnea may be responsible for job impairment and motor vehicle crashes. Fortunately, sleep apnea can be diagnosed and treated. Several treatment options exist, and research into additional options continues.
- Will it hurt?
- No, small sensors are attached to your skin with an adhesive that will keep them on during the study, but allow for easy removal after the testing is completed. Flexible elastic belts around your chest and abdomen measure your breathing effort. A small thermocouple (which looks like a small loop of wire dipped in plastic) may be placed by your upper lip to measure the airflow from your nose and mouth. A pressure transducer may also be used. This is a small cannula placed in your nostrils and resembles oxygen tubing. It is used to monitor when you breathe in and out.
- Is it effective?
- Yes, Parkway SleepHealth Centers have a record of successful testing, diagnosis, and treatment support for a wide variety of sleep disorders. Parkway SleepHealth Centers will provide your physician with a written report on your sleep study along with recommendations for treatment.
- Why do I have to stay overnight?
- Overnight sleep studies are the “gold standard” used for accurately diagnosing sleep disorders. Overnight studies are necessary in part because sleep patterns may vary throughout the night. In addition, overnight studies are important for detecting more subtle symptoms.
- I work the night shift. Can I come in during the day?
- Yes. Ideally the sleep study will occur during your normal sleeping time.
- Can I eat before my test?
- Yes, eat a normal dinner.
- Can I bring my own pillow?
During the Sleep Study
- Is the equipment noisy?
- No, not really. We try to make it as comfortable as possible. Earplugs are available if needed, just ask your technician.
- Will the recording procedure disrupt my sleep?
- People prone to insomnia may experience some interference with sleep. However, the vast majority of patients sleep well enough to have a successful sleep study.
- Who will be in the Sleep Center while I am sleeping?
- To ensure patient safety, a sleep technician remains on-site and a physician is always on call.
- What if I can’t fall asleep?
- If you think you may have trouble falling asleep, you can ask your physician to prescribe a sleep aid. This medicine will not affect the sleep study. However, if you have not taken any of these medicines before, you may want to arrange for someone to pick you up in the morning.
- Will I be given a sleeping pill?
- Patients who do not usually use sleeping aids will not be given one. However, if you normally take a sleeping pill to fall asleep, then we recommend you bring one to the sleep study.
- Should I continue to take my medications before the test?
- Yes, unless your physician tells you otherwise.
- Will I just be tested, or will treatment be started during my sleep study?
- Depending on what your physician orders, you may get a full night or split night study. If your physician has ordered a split night study and sleep apneas are detected, then you may receive CPAP therapy as part of the sleep study.
- Can children come in for sleep studies?
- People of all ages are affected by sleep disorders. We have a pediatric sleep room where a parent can spend the night. We use additional monitoring for children and have a pediatric sleep specialist interpreting the study. You and your child are welcome to tour the lab before the scheduled sleep study and there is even a “Treasure Chest” for the child to pick a prize from.
- What happens to my sleep recording after completion of the test?
- The results are reviewed by a Registered Sleep Technologist and verified by a board certified Sleep Specialist. Depending on what type of study your physician has ordered, you will either follow-up with your referring physician or our Sleep Specialist. Your results are generally available within 1 week after your study is completed. Our office staff will contact you and let you know what to do next. If you do not hear from us after one week, please give our office a call at (919) 462-8081.
- Can I get a copy of my test results?
- Yes. Just ask for it. You will need to sign a copy of our release of medical records form.
- What treatment am I likely to receive after I complete my overnight sleep test?
- The treatment is individualized depending on the clinical situation and results of the sleep study.
- What do I do the day of my study?
- You can generally follow your regular routine the day of your study. You should eat your evening meal before coming in, and also take a shower and shave (body oils can make it difficult to place the sensors in their proper position).
Below are some things you should NOT do the day of your study:
- Take a nap
- Consume any caffeine after noon
- Use lotions or hair treatments after your shower and before coming to the lab
- Consume any alcohol
- Do I need to bring anything?
- Yes, please bring:
- Any medication you might need during the night including any sleep aids
- Toiletries and a hair dryer if you plan to shower (your hair will likely be messy because of the water-soluble paste we use in the study)
- Loose fitting pajamas, sweats, or shorts
- Your insurance cards
- If you are on CPAP already, please bring your mask
- What time should I come in?
- At Parkway SleepHealth Centers, we feel it is important to keep you on your normal sleep schedule. When scheduling your appointment, we ask what your normal bedtime is, and schedule your sleep study around your sleeping times. Typically, you will arrive between 8pm and 10pm. If you work 3rd shift, we schedule you to come in for your test during the day.
- What time will I be done?
- We typically would like at least 6 hours sleep time. Most patients go to sleep about 11pm and awake between 6-7am. Your technician will ask you in the evening what time you would like to wake up in the morning. We encourage you to keep a normal sleep schedule. It takes about 20 to 30 minutes after you wake up to remove the sensors and fill out a short questionnaire. Your technician will offer you a washcloth and towel to clean up. Shower facilities are at our center. We offer a convenient “Grab & Go” breakfast with delicious hot coffee.
- What if I can’t fall asleep?
- If you think you may have trouble falling asleep, you can ask your physician to prescribe a sleep aid. If you have not taken any of these medicines before, you may want to arrange for someone to pick you up in the morning. Our sleep specialist recommends that you bring over-the-counter Benadryl to help you get sleepy if you have trouble the night of your study.
- What if I need to use the bathroom?
- This is a common side effect of sleep apnea. It’s not difficult to get up to use the bathroom during the night. You will just need to call for the technician and he or she will come in to disconnect the cable (it takes about 30 seconds) before you get out of bed.
After the Sleep Study
- How do I get the results of my sleep study?
- Your sleep study will be scored by Registered Sleep Technologists, then it will be interpreted by a board certified Sleep Physician. It usually takes less than a week to get the results back to your referring physician. Depending on the type of referral either your physicians office or a Parkway SleepHealth Center representative will call you when the results are ready. If you do not hear from us within 7-10 business days, give us a call!
- What amenities do Parkway SleepHealth Centers Offer?
- At Parkway SleepHealth Center, we believe it takes more than recording a sleep study to care for our patients. We strive to make this a pleasant and even enjoyable experience for you, while providing a needed test in a professional manner.
Here are some of the amenities you can expect when you stay with us:
- Comfortable chair and desk lamp for reading in most rooms
- Queen-size Sleep Number beds by Select Comfort©
- Cable TV
- Optional sleeper/recliner available in each center
- Children choose a prize from our toy chest
- TcO2 monitoring for all children
- Complimentary WiFi
- Handicapped accessible bathrooms with shower facilities
- Complimentary “Grab & Go” breakfast
Do you or your patients have unique sleeping needs? Require a caregiver? Call us, let us help.
Questions about CPAP
- What does “CPAP” stand for?
- CPAP is an abbreviation for Continuous Positive Airway Pressure and we usually refer to it as a “SEE-pap” machine.
- What is CPAP?
- CPAP (continuous positive airway pressure) is the most widely accepted treatment for sleep apnea. A CPAP machine is a bedside device that gently delivers pressurized air through a nasal mask or pillow system. This pressure acts like an “air splint” to keep the upper airway open and help prevent apnea.
- How do I get a CPAP machine?
- Your physician will “order” a CPAP machine for you at a prescribed setting. This order will usually be faxed to our CPAP department or to another home medical company. After the order is received, you are contacted to schedule an appointment.
- Can I get my CPAP equipment from Parkway SleepHealth Centers?
- Yes, Parkway SleepHealth Centers does sell CPAP equipment. Although we are happy to be your provider for this equipment, you are not obligated to return to us because you had a sleep study at our facility.
- Will insurance cover the cost of the CPAP machine and supplies?
- Most insurance plans consider CPAP a covered expense for treatment of apnea. You may have a deductible or co-payment, but insurance companies often cover most of the cost of the equipment. We are happy to check your insurance eligibility.
- When will I be able to begin home treatment with CPAP?
- Once the Sleep Physician or your referring physician has a chance to review your sleep study they will then make any recommendations as to the treatment. If CPAP is the treatment they recommend for you they will send over a prescription to Parkway SleepHealth Centers CPAP department or another Durable Medical Equipment company. Once the prescription is received Parkway or the DME company will contact you to schedule a date and time to come in and receive your equipment and training on how to use your new equipment properly.
Questions about Support Groups
- Are support groups useful?
- Yes. Support groups can be valuable for learning new information about your sleep disorder and for getting support from people who understand what you are going through. Many patients find the added benefit of a support group helpful. A.W.A.K.E. (Alert, Well and Keeping Energetic) is a support group that is part of the American Sleep Apnea Association. They provide support by sharing ideas and information among people affected by sleep disordered breathing. Ask our CPAP specialist for more details.
Questions about Insurance
- Will my insurance pay for my sleep testing?
- Parkway SleepHealth Center is making every effort to be contracted with as many insurance companies as possible. We are currently in-network with Aetna, Coventry, Cigna, United Healthcare, Blue Cross/Blue Shield, Medicare, and Tricare. The amount you will be responsible for varies widely based on your insurance coverage. Once your physician has referred you for a sleep study, our staff will call and verify your benefits before the sleep test takes place. Payment plans are always available as well.
Don’t have insurance? Call us. Parkway SleepHealth Center will work with you to make sure you receive care.