Preparing for Your Sleep Study
Can I visit the sleep lab before my study?
Yes, tours are available during the day. Please call us to schedule a tour before your test.
What should I bring to the sleep center?
Please bring comfortable sleeping clothes (two-piece, please), personal toiletries, and anything you may need for the morning. Some like to bring their own pillow.
Your room will have an en-suite bathroom with shower and we provide towels, washcloths, soap, and shampoo. Coffee, regular or decaf, is provided when you wake up, unless prohibited because of further tests.
What should I do before I arrive at the sleep center?
- Please eat before you check in. We are an outpatient service and we are unable to provide meals. There are vending machines, but some locations, e.g., Redmond and Northwest do not have other food services close by. Please bring what food you will need for your stay, especially if you are having a day study immediately following your in-lab overnight study. Refrigerators for your own food are available at all locations.
- The signals we record are best from clean, natural skin. To that end, it is helpful if you shower and shampoo your hair before your study. Please avoid sprays, oils, gels or make-up after you are clean (deodorant is fine). Men should shave as usual - you do not need to shave off your beard!
- Please think carefully about getting home after the study. Most people sleep just fine in the sleep lab, but you might be the exception. If you ever have difficulties with alertness when you are driving, we strongly advise that you pre-arrange a ride home after your study.
- Your safety is very important to us. If you do not feel alert enough to drive at the end of your study, please talk to your tech.
- Once again, have a list of the medications that you take. We will need to see if there have been any changes from our records. Please bring all the medications that you will need - medications are not available at the Sleep Center. Also, please bring your mouthguard or mandibular advancement device, if normally used.
- Do you have any special needs that we can help with? If so, let us know. For example:
- Do you need an interpreter?
- Do you have mobility issues that might require special equipment?
- Do you have healthcare needs that might require a caregiver?
- If you are having a CPAP study you should bring the card that will allow it to be adjusted, but you do not need to bring the machine unless specifically requested
- You should contact us if there is a service animal that you need, so that special arrangements can be made. We regret that pets are not permitted.
- Please also confirm any arrangements for family members staying overnight who are needed for your care. We regret that other family members, for example spouses or children, cannot normally be accommodated. If in doubt, please call!
What should I avoid before I arrive at the sleep center?
- Don't have expensive hair care before your study - electrodes and gel will be placed on your scalp. This causes no permanent damage, but will require shampooing to clean up.
- Avoid alcohol and limit caffeine drinks on the day of the study unless you have arranged otherwise with your sleep specialist.
- Try not to nap on the day of the study.
- Do not bring valuables such as personal computers, cash, jewelry, etc., as we cannot be held responsible if valuables are lost or misplaced.
- Please don't expect to conduct business activities during your stay. Also, please don't schedule important meetings soon after the end of your study as we don't know for sure when you'll fall asleep and hence don't know exactly when the study will end.
What if I am running late for my appointment?
- As a courtesy to other patients, please arrive on time for your sleep study. However, we understand that circumstances may arise making it difficult to arrive on time. If you are running late, please call us directly at 206-386-4744, leaving a message if necessary, and let us know your approximate time of arrival.
- Please note, a single technologist gives great care and attention to a maximum of only two patients at a time. If there is any possibility at all that you might have to cancel or reschedule, please let us know promptly, so that we might offer that limited spot to another patient who needs it.
What will happen when I arrive?
- You will meet your technologist and you'll find out about your room, the study and the timetable. You will be given some time to relax and get comfortable. Many patients like to watch television but be warned, we don't have all cable channels and so your favorite program might not be available!
- You will be hooked up. This takes 40-60 minutes and is another time when you can chat to your technologist and learn more. Electrodes and transducers will be placed for:
- EEG: 'brainwaves' - needed to distinguish states of alertness such as wake or REM sleep
- small metal disks containing gel will be taped to the skin of your head/ scalp
- EMG: 'muscle activity' - needed to see normal relaxation ( for example, in REM sleep) and abnormal disorders such as teeth grinding or parasomnias (such as sleep walking)
- small metal disks containing gel will be taped to the skin of your chin and legs
- EOG: 'eye movements' - helps tell when you're asleep or in REM sleep, and helps in the diagnosis of narcolepsy
- small metal disks containing gel will be taped to your face near your eyes
- EKG: 'heart activity' - needed to gage the impact of sleep problems on your health
- sticky pads containing gel will be attached to your chest
- Respiratory flow and effort: 'breathing activity' - helps determine sleep anea and snoring
- A thin tube is taped on your face near your nose and soft belts are placed around your chest and belly
- How can I be expected to sleep wearing that?
- Surprisingly perhaps, almost all patients get used to the set-up rather quickly. Out of many thousands, less than one a year can't sleep sufficiently as a result of the equipment.
- You will complete a questionnaire just before bedtime using a computer in your room.
- The traces will be tested ('calibration'; takes a few minutes) and then you will be free to fall asleep.