What to expect during a sleep test

The sleep test monitors your sleep cycle to identify why and when your sleep cycle is disrupted.

A sleep test, or sleep study, is termed polysomnography. This test monitors your sleep cycle to identify why and when your sleep cycle is disrupted. Polysomnography also helps chalk out your treatment plan once you are diagnosed with sleep disorder.

Polysomnography records, analyses, and interprets multiple physiologic signals collected simultaneously. The physiologic signals include brain waves (EEG), heart rate (ECG), breathing, oxygen level in blood, and eye and leg movements.

Sleep study is done to detect

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  • Sleep related breathing disorder such as sleep apnoea
  • REM sleep behaviour disorder
  • Sleep walking and other unusual behaviour during sleep
  • Chronic insomnia
  • Periodic limb movement disorder

Polysomnography is a non-invasive, safe test that requires an overnight stay in the hospital/ sleep centre.

You will be asked to come in at least two hours before your bedtime. You can bring your personal things related to sleep, for example, your own pyjamas, books, music and such things. After you get ready for the bed, the technician will attach sensors on your scalp, temples, chest and legs with a mild adhesive. The sensors are connected to the computer with wires. The wires are long enough to allow for normal movements in the bed. A clip is attached to the finger to monitor the blood oxygen levels. Read more about 6 ways to use nutmeg for a good night s sleep

The measurements are recorded in the form of a continuous graph. The technician will monitor your sleep throughout the night and assist you if you require any help.

Sensors will be removed in the morning, and you are free to leave then. Your doctor will give you an appointment for follow up.


  • Do not drink or eat anything with caffeine on the day of the test, as it might interfere with the test results.
  • Oxygen levels in your blood are measured through a sensor; no needles are involved as it is a non-invasive study.
  • The adhesive may cause slight skin irritation in some people.
  • A full night sleep is not required to gather the required information, so don t worry about how and if you ll be able to sleep.

Image source: Shutterstock (Image for representational purpose only)

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