If your doctor suspects that you may have sleep apnea, they may request that you do a sleep study. Usually sleep studies, also known as polysomnography, are done at sleep labs, but they can occasionally be done at home.
If you go to a sleep lab, you will be expected to spend the whole night so they can get as much accurate information as they possibly can. You will need to bring anything you need to maintain your bedtime and sleep routine including pajamas, toiletries, and your favorite pillow and/or blanket. The sleep lab will provide you with your own bed, but you may find it difficult to fall asleep without something you’re used to.
The technician will attach sensors to your head, chest, and legs before you go to sleep in order to read your brain waves, oxygen levels, heart rate, and eye movements. Many of the rooms are fitted with low-light monitoring cameras with audio so that you can easily communicate with the technician if necessary.
In some cases, the technician will have you try a CPAP or BiPAP for a part of the test.
For at home tests, your doctor will provide you with the appropriate machine and sensors with instructions for how to properly attach everything before bed. When the test is complete in the morning, you will remove the sensors and receive instructions for how to return the device to your doctor.
In both cases, a technician will review your results and send them to your doctor with notes about any events that occurred during the test. The doctor will determine a diagnosis and schedule a follow up to discuss with you. If necessary, they will prescribe the use of a CPAP or BiPAP device.