What are sleep studies?
Sleep studies are where your sleep patterns and what happens while you are asleep is recorded with various medical monitoring devices. A sleep study will often measure a range of body functions, such as airflow through the nose/mouth, blood oxygen levels, brain activity, heart activity, eye movement and limb movements.
When is a sleep study needed?
A sleep study will help to diagnose the cause of various sleeping problems, such as poor quality sleep and insomnia and assess whether a person is suffering from sleep apnoea.
What is a home sleep study?
Sleep studies can be conducted at a hospital or at special 'sleep clinics', but they can also be conducted at home with a portable sleep monitor. Whether the sleep study is conducted at clinic/hospital, the procedure is fundamentally the same - a technician will connect the sleep monitor to you at the hospital or clinic.
This generally involves connecting electrodes to the skin on your chest, head and legs - these are small sticky patches. You then return home and go to sleep as you normally would.
The device then records your body functions and the next day you return to the hospital/clinic to have the device removed. The doctor then receives the readings from the device.
Do I need to prepare for the sleep study?
In general terms you should continue as you normally would, however it is a good idea not to drink alcohol before the test and to avoid stimulants such as any food/drink containing caffeine (eg coffee, tea, some energy drinks, and chocolate).