Having a stranger watching you while you sleep sounds like the beginning of a horror film,  but a real-life sleep study is much less scary. A sleep study or polysomnography is a non-invasive (think no needles) overnight exam that can help doctors diagnose a variety of disorders, including Sleep Apnea, Insomnia, Restless Leg Syndrome, and more. 

The sleep study is usually done at a hospital or a sleep center. While you’re sleeping, the specialists will watch you and monitor what’s happening in your brain and body. The study will measure oxygen levels, eye movement, sleep disruptions, snoring, and more. 

Before getting to the sleep center be sure to pack anything that will make you more comfortable for sleep. That includes your favorite pillow and blanket. Most centers allow you to bring items that will make your stay more comfortable. You’ll also want to eat your normal meals for the day, including dinner. As you will be arriving at the center quite late, dinner more than likely won’t be served. Lastly, be sure to inform the technicians of any allergies, dietary requirements, or special needs. A sleep study is a medical test, and they should be informed of anything that might have an effect on your health.

Generally, sleep centers ask that people arrive about two hours before bedtime. However, each center will have its own unique instructions, and you’ll want to follow the explicit instructions in which you are given. 

Once you are in your room, you can dress and get ready for sleep like you normally would. Slip into your favorite cat pajamas and drift off to sleep. Well, your head and body will be hooked up to sensors, but other than that it will all be completely normal. 

As for your experience, it’s going to be a bit odd at first, but you’ll soon adapt. Before bedtime, you will be able to use a laptop, listening devices, cell phones, and any other forms of entertainment. However, when the sleep study begins, it’s best to shut off anything that might keep you awake. The room will be made dark and comfortable for you to sleep in. 

Some people also worry that they won’t be able to get a full night’s rest. However, there’s no need to worry about that. A full eight hours isn’t needed to get an accurate reading. 

While having a sleep study done might not be as pleasant as a night in a luxury hotel, it is essential if you suspect you have Sleep Apnea or any other sleep-related condition. It is also nice to know what to expect beforehand. Just remember, one night of a sleep study can lead to a healthier and happier you.