(Polysomnogram; Overnight Sleep Study; Rapid Eye Movement Studies)
DefinitionPolysomnography (PSG) is a study of sleep cycles and sleep behavior. It is usually done in a sleep center overnight. This study involves observing a person at sleep while charting brain waves and other bodily functions.
Reasons for TestThis study can evaluate sleeping problems, such as:
- Trouble falling or staying asleep—insomnia
- Breathing that stops during sleep—apnea
- A problem with falling asleep suddenly during the day—narcolepsy
- Nightmares and sleepwalking
- Problems with arm or leg movement during sleep
Possible ComplicationsThere are no major complications associated with this procedure.
What to Expect
Prior to TestBefore the test, you may be asked to do the following:
- Wash your hair, but do not use any sprays, oils, or conditioners.
- Eat a normal dinner the night of the test.
- Do not drink alcohol or caffeinated beverages or take any sleeping aids before the test.
- Bring any medications you are taking. When making the appointment for the sleep study, ask if you should keep taking your medications in the days before the test.
- Bring comfortable pajamas and a bathrobe to wear.
Description of TestYou will arrive in the evening. You will be given time to relax in the room where you will sleep. Electrodes will be attached to your head, legs, and chest. Other monitors are placed around your chest, near your nose and mouth, and on your finger. You will be able to read and relax again until your bedtime. For most of the night, you will be able to move and turn during sleep. However, you may be asked to try to sleep in a certain position for part of the night. You will be observed by video during the night. This will be done in case sensors come loose or need to be removed for you to go to the bathroom. Sometimes, it is clear during the test that you can benefit from an intervention, such as continuous positive airway pressure (CPAP). This intervention may be started midway through the night.
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After TestYour sensors will be removed in the morning. In most cases, you will be able to go home.
How Long Will It Take?About 10-12 hours
Will It Hurt?No
ResultsResults from this test may be ready right away. If not, then they are most often available within 2 weeks. Any abnormal breathing or leg movements during sleep will be noted. Your doctor will review the results and discuss them with you.
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