If you have a sleep disorder, your physician may schedule you for a diagnostic, all-night sleep recording, or polysomnography (PSG), at the Paoli Hospital Center for Sleep Medicine in the Philadelphia suburbs. Spending the night in the sleep laboratory is an interesting experience. Following are some frequently asked questions with answers.
What happens when I first get to the sleep center?
A technologist will greet you and show you to your sleep room. You will be asked to change into your pajamas or whatever you wear to sleep. Often you will be left to watch TV, read, talk on the phone or perform other typical evening activities for 15 to 30 minutes. This is done to give you time to get used to your new surroundings. A technologist will then either come to your room or have you come to a separate room to apply various sensors and electrodes for the sleep study. These are attached with tape or glue (no needles).
What is a sleep study?
A sleep study is similar to an electroencephalogram (EEG) or electrocardiogram (ECG) study but makes 10 to 16 different measurements of your brain and body during the entire time you are asleep.
Can I sleep in my usual position, and can I turn over?
All electrodes and sensors are attached so that they should not come off during sleep. You should be able to sleep as you do at home and turn over as usual. If you feel you cannot sleep normally because of the electrodes, please call the sleep technologist to help you. Also, if an electrode or sensor does come off, the technologist on duty will simply replace it.
What should I bring with me?
Prepare for your night in the sleep laboratory as if you were going to spend a night in a hotel. Please bring with you everything you would need to spend a night away from home. This should include your medications, pajamas, toothbrush, toiletries, books to read, etc. If you wish, you may bring your own pillow. We want your stay to be as similar to sleeping at home as possible, but please do not bring family, friends, pets, musical instruments or alcoholic beverages.
What happens if I need to go to the bathroom during the night?
Most male patients prefer to use a urinal at the bedside that we will provide. Both male and female patients who want to use the bathroom facilities may do so, but they must call in the technologist to temporarily detach their electrodes. All electrodes and sensors are "plugged" into a detachable box. The box is simply detached and the patient is able to go—electrodes and all—to the bathroom. This is an easy process and can be done in a few seconds.
Do I have to go to sleep at a specific time?
We prefer that patients sleep during the same hours as they do at home. Our staff will discuss this with you and schedule your sleep study accordingly. Most patients are not permitted to sleep any later than 7:00 a.m., unless prior arrangements have been made.
Will you give me any medication to sleep?
No, this might change your sleep and prevent us from identifying the source of your sleep problem. However, you may take whatever medication you usually take before bedtime, unless otherwise discussed with the medical staff. Just be sure to tell the technologist what you are taking.
How and when do I get the results?
Sleep Study Only, No Office Visit: If you were referred directly to the sleep center for a sleep study only and have not had a sleep-disorders evaluation or office visit with a physician in the sleep center, you can get the results from your referring physician or family physician only. You should make an appointment to review the sleep study results with your doctor approximately seven business days after the date of your sleep study.
Office Visit in Sleep Center Prior to Sleep Study: If you had an office visit or sleep-disorders evaluation in the sleep center before you had your sleep study, you should schedule an appointment for approximately one week after your study to review the results and discuss treatment with the doctor.
Make an Appointment
To make an appointment for a consultation, call the Paoli Hospital Center for Sleep Medicine at 484-565-1358. In some instances, a referral is not required.
Paoli Sleep Center
Make an Appointment 484.565.1358
Paoli Hospital Sleep Center
2 Industrial Blvd., Suite 100
Paoli, PA 19301
For more information, call 1.866.CALL.MLH.