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Sleep Studies Evaluation

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Q: What should I do if I think I might have sleep apnea?
A: The first step is to take the Epworth Sleepiness Test and consult your physician. You may be referred to a sleep specialist to test you specifically for a sleep disorder.

Most sleep disorders can be diagnosed and treated, and serious complications may be prevented. If you are having trouble sleeping, your doctor may order a sleep study. A physician referral is required by the Sleep Lab.

Before a sleep study is conducted, you will be asked to answer questions about your sleep problems and history, and you will undergo a physical exam. These help us determine the best course of action.

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Q: What is a sleep study?
A: It is a test used to diagnose sleep disorders. The name of the test is a polysomnography, and it records brain waves, oxygen level in the blood, heart rate, breathing rate, and eye and leg movements during sleep. It is an all-night test.

Q: When and where will my sleep study take place?
A: At Halifax Regional, your sleep study will be conducted in a private, comfortable, home-like setting with a flat-screen television. Our Sleep Lab includes four patient rooms located on the fourth floor of the Medical Center.

Q: How is sleep testing performed?
A: Sensors are applied to the surfaces of the head, face, chest and legs. Oxygen level is monitored by using a small clip worn on the index finger throughout the night. Respiration and breathing effort also are monitored.

Q: Is the test painful?
A: No. Patients with sensitive skin may notice mild skin irritation from sensor adhesives. If you are allergic to adhesive, please let us know in advance of your test.

Q: Who will be present in the Sleep Lab during my test?
A: You will be in a private room and will be monitored from an adjacent control room by a trained sleep technologist. The technologist is responsible for making your stay comfortable and safe while obtaining a high-quality sleep recording.

Q: How do I prepare for my sleep study?
A: You will be given instructions about preparing for your study, and it is important to follow those instructions to ensure a more accurate diagnosis.

  • Diet: Do not drink beverages containing caffeine on the day of your sleep study.
  • Hair: Be sure that your hair is clean, dry and free of hair sprays, gels and oils when you arrive for your study. Water-soluble paste will be used to secure electronic leads to your scalp. Shampoo, soap and conditioner will be provided for you to wash the paste out of your hair at the completion of the study.
  • Clothing: Bring loose, comfortable clothing to sleep in. No silk, satin or nylon as these cause static and interfere with the study.
  • Pillow: You may bring your own pillow if you prefer.
  • Nail polish: Please remove all nail polish since it will interfere with the oxygen sensor on your finger.
  • Medications: Bring a list of your prescribed medications with you and take them as normal, unless your doctor advises differently.
  • Smoking: Smoking is not allowed in our building.
  • Telephone: There is not a telephone in the room. We ask that you turn off your cell phone.
  • Television: There is a television in your room.
  • Time required for study: You will be at the Sleep Lab for approximately eight to 10 hours. You are permitted to leave when the technologist completes the study.

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