Sleep Lab Studies

The traditional method for diagnosing a sleep disorder is an overnight sleep study, or polysomnography, conducted in a sleep lab and overseen by a sleep technologist. These tests are used for the diagnosis of obstructive sleep apnea and many other sleep disorders. The Northwest Hospital Sleep Center offers eight state-of-the-art, soundproofed suites for sleep studies. The environment of each suite has been designed to help patients have the best sleep possible. Patients sleep in traditional beds with Sleep Number® adjustable mattresses. The windows are covered by black-out blinds, and calming color schemes and interior decoration have been selected to create a relaxing atmosphere.

Each suite has a private bathroom and cable television. The rooms are also outfitted with the most advanced diagnostic technology available. While undergoing a study, the staff will make every effort to help you feel as comfortable as you would in your own home. Feel free to bring reading materials or activities with you.

What to Expect

A sleep technologist will be assigned to monitor your sleep throughout your study, which will measure the amount and quality of your sleep. Information about your brain wave activity, breathing, heart rate and body movements during sleep will be collected from several small sensors placed on your head, chest and legs. There are no needles involved and the sensors are completely painless.

On the Day of Your Study


  • Eat dinner before you check in at registration
  • Bring comfortable sleeping attire, a favorite pillow and necessary toiletries
  • Bathe, wash your hair and shave before arriving. Men with beards do not need to shave them off

Do not:

  • Consume any alcohol or caffeine
  • Take any naps
  • Bring any valuables (including personal computers or cellular phones
  • Work or conduct business activities during your stay

Sleep Study Results

After your sleep study is concluded, the results will be analyzed by a sleep technician, interpreted by the medical staff and developed into a report. The report will be sent to your referring healthcare provider.

Unless otherwise arranged, the physician who provided your initial consultation will try to see you five to seven working days after your study. At that time, he or she will explain the results of the sleep test to you. Due to the complexity of this information, the results should be reviewed with your provider in person rather than over the phone.

Depending upon the nature and severity of your condition, you may be asked to return to the sleep lab for an additional night of study.