What to Expect During a Sleep Study (Polysomnogram)
This short video will describe what you can expect during your sleep study, and how you can prepare so you have the best experience possible.
First, please remember to bring with you to your sleep study all medicines, feeding supplies, and breathing equipment that you use at home. Also, bring some your favorite things from home so that you feel comfortable during your sleep over at CHOC. Most of our patients like to bring their favorite pillow, stuffed animal, pajamas or iPad. One parent will be able to sleep in the room with you, too!
Your sleep study is also known as a polysomnogram. It’s a big word, but it’s just a way for us to see what your body does while it is asleep.
When you and your parents arrive, one of CHOC’s team members will meet you either at the front admitting desk or at the entrance to the sleep center, depending on the location of the sleep lab.
You will then meet your sleep study technologist, who will be the person who helps you get ready for your sleep study and who will monitor you overnight. CHOC’s sleep study technologists are specially trained to ensure you have a safe sleep over.
Your technologist will ask you some questions, determine if you need any special assistance overnight, and will prepare you for the study. Your technologist may have you try on a special breathing mask that you might use during your sleep study. This special mask is called a CPAP or biPAP.
Your technologist will place a special belt across your chest to monitor your breathing, and he or she will then place stickers on your face, legs, and head to monitor your muscles, brain, and breathing. These stickers are attached to wires called “electrodes”, but they do not hurt. Your technologist will rub a Q-tip and soap-like substance on each spot where a sticker will go, to help keep them in place, and then your technologist will place the sticker. The stickers will have a white, sticky paste to keep them in place. You will not need to have your head shaved. You’ll wear a special, white cap to keep the stickers on your head in place while you sleep. Some of your stickers may fall off in the middle of the night, and if that happens, your technologist will need to put them back on.
Finally, your technologist will place a thin tube under your nose. It might itch a little, but it doesn’t hurt, and it is important for your sleep study.
When you’re ready, it’s lights out. While you’re sleeping, your technologist will be watching you sleep from a camera in your room. Your new stickers and belt will send information to your technologist and will let him or her know how you’re sleeping and breathing overnight.
If you need to wear the small mask during your sleep study, your technologist will come back into the room and put it on a few hours into your sleep study. This mask will help you breathe better and make you feel good in the morning.
In the morning, your technologist will come in and wake you up, and take off the stickers and chest belt. Then, it’s time to go home.
A lot of our kids ask us the same questions. Those questions are, “Are there any needles?” No, there are no needles, and nothing will hurt. But the electrodes will be sticky! We will place stickers on your face, legs, and head. It sounds silly, but it will let us know how your body works overnight.
Another question we often get is, “how does the paste come off?” To keep your stickers on we use a sticky paste. It does not hurt, but you will have to wash your hair in the morning after you get home and use soap and water to take them off.
Another question that we get is, “Can my parents be with me?” Of course, we allow one parent to stay with you overnight. There is a bed provided for your parent to sleep on.
“What time will my sleep study end?” Your sleep study will end at 6:00 AM.
We hope this video helped answer your questions, and we are looking forward to seeing you for your upcoming sleep over at CHOC.