Preparing for a Polysomnogram

If you’ve been experiencing symptoms of sleep disorders like excessive daytime sleepiness, snoring, or restless leg syndrome, your doctor may recommend a polysomnogram or sleep study. A polysomnogram is a diagnostic test that measures various physiological factors during sleep, including brain waves, eye movements, heart rate, breathing, and muscle activity. It helps diagnose sleep disorders like sleep apnea, insomnia, narcolepsy, and more. However, getting ready for a polysomnogram can be intimidating, especially if you’ve never had one before. In this blog post, we’ll guide you about how to prepare for a polysomnogram and what to expect during the test.

  1. Talk to your doctor: Before you schedule a polysomnogram, talk to your doctor about your sleep problems and any medications you take. Your doctor may ask you to stop taking certain medications or change their dose for a few days before the test. Also, inform your doctor if you have any allergies, medical conditions, or special needs. Your doctor may recommend a particular sleep clinic or lab that specializes in polysomnography.
  1. Follow the instructions: You’ll receive a set of instructions from the sleep clinic or lab regarding what to do and what not to do before the test. Follow these instructions carefully, as they’ll ensure accurate and reliable results. Some common instructions include avoiding caffeine, alcohol, and nicotine for at least 24 hours before the test, avoiding naps and staying awake during the daytime, and showering and washing your hair before the test.
  1. Pack your essentials: Since a polysomnogram is an overnight test, you’ll need to pack some essentials like comfortable sleepwear, toiletries, and any medications or equipment you use for sleeping, such as a CPAP or BiPAP machine. You’ll also need to bring your insurance card, photo ID, and a list of your medications. If you’re a light sleeper, you may want to bring earplugs or an eye mask.
  1. Arrive early: Plan to arrive at the sleep clinic or lab at least an hour before your scheduled test time. This will give you enough time to check-in, fill out any paperwork, and get settled in your room. The sleep technician will hook you up to various sensors and electrodes that will monitor your sleep activity during the night. Don’t worry; these sensors are painless and non-invasive.
  1. Relax and sleep: Once you’re hooked up to the sensors, the sleep technician will ask you to relax and sleep as you normally would at home. You may feel self-conscious about all the wires on your body, but try to forget about them and sleep naturally. If you need to use the bathroom during the night, tell the technician, and they’ll assist you in disconnecting some of the sensors temporarily.

Preparing for a polysomnogram may seem daunting, but it’s a necessary step towards getting a proper diagnosis and treatment for sleep disorders. By following these tips, you can ensure a comfortable and stress-free experience during the test. Remember, the goal of a polysomnogram is to help you sleep better and improve your overall health and quality of life. So, stay positive and open-minded, and you’ll be on your way to better sleep soon!