What is the Purpose of a Sleep Study?
Sleep studies are important diagnostic tools for common sleep disorders like sleep apnea, insomnia, circadian and rhythm disorders. Sleep studies have proven to be particularly important in Alaska where the extreme darkness and lightness tend to either cause or worsen sleep disorders.
Sleep studies are non-invasive and painless. They monitor:
- Brainwave activity
- Eye movement
- Muscle movement
- Heart activity
- Blood oxygen level
In a sleep study, you will conduct your sleep study over night at our facility. The results from the sleep study will help either provide a diagnoses or clarify what (if anything) may be causing concern.
Signs You May Need a Sleep Study
Usually, you may need a sleep evaluation is if you are struggling with sleep or sleep related problems such as:
- Excessive snoring
- Never feeling like you get enough sleep – can’t fall asleep, stay asleep, or wake up too early
- General performance loss in many important areas of life (work, relationships, etc.)
- Chronic daytime fatigue
- Being unable to stay awake during the day
- Sudden onset of sleep-readiness at an odd hour during the day
- Uncharacteristic memory trouble
- Concentration problems
- Chronic brain fog
- Chronic headaches in the morning
- Increased anxiety that is not normal
- Uncharacteristic mood troubles
At this point, you may consult your doctor who will make a referral. However, it’s also not uncommon that people are surprised by a sleep referral, as sleep problems don’t always manifest as being obviously sleep related.
Does Insurance Cover Sleep Studies?
While there are many different insurance options, most insurance companies provide coverage for sleep studies. This includes Medicare, Medicaid, Tricare, and healthcare purchased through the Healthcare Marketplace.
Before you sleep study, you can check with us to verify that insurance covers you.
Do You Need a Referral to Get a Sleep Study?
Yes, sleep studies do need a referral. This can happen after expressing concerns to your doctor and receiving a referral, or you can simply call your doctor and ask to fax a referral.
We have patient referral forms available on our website.
How to Prepare for Your Sleep Study
Here are some good practices you can undertake to prepare for your sleep study:
- Avoid napping the day of your study
- Avoid alcohol, caffeine, sedatives, and stimulates 24 hours before your study
- Eat regular meals on the day of your study
- On the day of your study, avoid using hair products such as oils and sprays
- Bring comfortable sleep attire
- Bring your regularly scheduled medications
- Make sure we are aware of any disabilities or other accommodations you might have
Other than this, the idea is to study your sleep as if you were at home.
What to Bring to Your Sleep Study
Basically, you can pretend you are going to stay at a hotel for the night in terms of what you should bring:
- Comfy and appropriate sleeping attire
- Any medications you are required to take
- Other things that help you sleep well, such as a favorite pillow
- Any night time related items, such as face wash or toothbrush
- A spare change of clothes (we have showers at our facility)
Other than basics, there is nothing special to bring.
How Long Will Your Sleep Study Last
Sleep studies are an overnight experience, usually starting in the late evening and ending early morning, around 5:30am to 6:30am.
What Will Happen During Your Sleep Study
During your sleep study, you will be hooked up to monitoring equipment. Fortunately, it’s not very invasive and most people do not have trouble with it – this equipment can be adjusted.
You will have a bathroom available and a private room. If you need to use the bathroom sleep specialists can assist you in removing and reapplying the monitoring equipment.
As you sleep, lots of information is collected about your sleeping. This information is reviewed by sleep specialists and our Medical Director.
During a sleep study, you don’t have to do anything special except for sleep. To review, the basic process is:
- You arrive at the facility in the late evening
- You get ready for sleep and lie down in a private room
- Sleep specialists hook you up to monitoring devices, adjusting them as needed
- Sleep specialists monitor while you sleep
- In the morning when you wake up you can shower and have a light, complimentary breakfast at our facility
What Happens After Your Sleep Study
After your sleep study, our Medical Director will review your results and them forward the final report to your doctor, usually in 2-5 business days.