If you have a sleep disorder, your physician may schedule you for a
diagnostic, all-night sleep recording, or polysomnography (PSG), at the Sleep
Medicine Center at Bryn Mawr Hospital. 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
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 the 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 am, 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
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
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
Make an Appointment
To make an appointment, call the Sleep Medicine Center at Bryn Mawr
Hospital at 484.337.3300. We serve patients of all ages from all over
the Philadelphia area.
Bryn Mawr Hospital
New Appointments 1.866.CALL.MLH or 484.580.1000
Bryn Mawr Hospital
130 South Bryn Mawr Avenue
Bryn Mawr, PA 19010
For more information, call 1.866.CALL.MLH.