What to Expect From a Visit to the Sleep Clinic

What to Expect From a Visit to the Sleep Clinic

Summary: Worrying about what might happen at a sleep clinic? Its normal to wonder what is going to happen, if you will be able to sleep, if you will be hooked up to any equipment, or if anything embarrassing will take place. Here is an explanation of what is likely going to happen on the night you are going to the clinic.

Have you ever slept with a team of scientists and doctors watching every snore you make? No, maybe not, but your doctor thinks it might be a good idea, and has recommended that you spend a night undergoing some kind of sleep testing to assess the seriousness of your snoring, or daytime sleepiness. You probably have some anxiety about the whole experience, and are worried that it might be kind of creepy.


What should you expect from a visit to the sleep clinic?

The first thing to do is to check the list of restrictions and guidelines that the clinic gave you. You should have a page of instructions telling you what to bring with you in your overnight bag, and what to eat or drink during the day, or avoid eating or drinking. Every situation is different, but it is likely that they suggested that you avoid naps, caffeine and other things that may keep you awake. You can probable bring with you anything you would take if you were going overnight to a hotel, but not, of course, pets, partners, or children. It makes sense to take sleepwear that you would be comfortable wearing in front of strangers.

Where will you sleep?

The room will be as nice as a private hospital room. If you have concerns about the room, ask to see a typical bed in advance, since the facilities will vary at each place. You should expect a bed and a bathroom, and everything needed to give you a good sleep. When you get there and are comfortable, the technicians will ask you to get ready for bed. Then they will set you up for the polysomnography. This should take around an hour, but it could be less or more depending on the concerns.

What will they be applying?

The preparation includes attaching electrodes and wires for the EEG or electroencephalogram. This won’t hurt; the procedure is non-invasive and that means no needles and no blood. Other things that will probably need to be applied are a snore microphone that will be taped to your neck, sticky pads for the EKG to monitor your heart rhythm, a stretchy elastic strap on your chest to measure your breathing, and something to measure or monitor your movement. Everything is attached to a small box, that you can carry with you, so don’t worry if you need to get out of bed in the night. The last thing that will be applied just before you go to sleep is nasal tubing that sits comfortably in your nose to measure your airflow.

It’s all over but the sleeping

Don’t worry that you won’t be able to sleep. After all that’s why you are there, and the technicians are more experienced at this than you are so whatever happens will be fine. Don’t let yourself get stressed. The next morning, you can go about your day as usual, and wait for the results.

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