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What To Expect In A Sleep Study

Updated: Oct 21, 2023

If you’re reading this post, you might be curious as to what the process of getting a sleep study done is like. A sleep study can help identify many different conditions such as: Sleep apnea, insomnia, sleep paralysis, sleepwalking, seizures, restless leg syndrome, and more. If you’re suspicious that you have disruptions in your sleep that are affecting your health, I suggest asking your doctor about getting one scheduled!

While the study is an uncomfortable few hours, it’s worth getting one done to help give you a possible answer and solution to your sleep issues. If you’re wondering what prompted me to get a study done, check out my previous post, When I Started to Prioritize Sleep.

Here is what to expect:


Prior to heading to the sleep facility, you’re given a list of things you can bring. Medications, books, change of clothes, toiletries, snacks, and your own pillow are items that are allowed. If you bring medications, they might have you skip a dose for the night, unless they are vital, as some medications can affect the results.

Arriving at the Sleep Center

For my study, I arrived around 8:30pm, was greeted by the staff, and got checked in. I was then taken to my room for the night. I was fully expecting to be sleeping in a room like a hospital where it’s all white, sterile, and cold. I was surprised to learn that the room was set up like a hotel. It had decorations, end tables, lamps, tv, and a comfortable queen-sized bed.

When you get to your room, the technician gives you time to get comfortable and change into your pajamas. You might have some down time to read a book, watch tv, or relax. When you’re ready to sleep, the technician will return to confirm your estimate wake-up time and the fun begins.

sleep study attached wires

Using a mild adhesive, the technician will apply a couple dozen sensors to your head and body. These sensors will record and measure your brain and body functions. The wires are not painful at all, but it made it hard to get comfortable in bed.

The wires are long enough for movement and flipping over during the night; however, I didn’t want to take any risks in having to redo the study and stayed as still as possible. It was about 10:30pm and it was time to try and fall asleep.

During the Study

I’ve always had issues with falling asleep in foreign environments. I never sleep well in new places, wake up frequently, and never feel like I can get deep sleep. Laying there knowing a low light camera was watching me sleep, the wires, and new environment, I knew it was going to be a struggle. I did get used to the wires on my body, but a couple hours went by, and I felt way too aware and alert to fall asleep.

The next thing I know I hear the technician ask over the speaker to flip over my back. I found myself staring up at the ceiling tiles becoming increasingly annoyed, which made falling asleep even harder. I kept thinking I was going to have to come back to this place and redo the study. After about an hour, the technician said the sleep study was finished around 5:45AM. Finally, I was able to remove all the wires and clean off the sticky adhesive.

sleep data during sleep study

After packing up my things and heading back to the front desk to sign out, I spoke with the technician fully expecting to be told that I would have to schedule another study. I told them I felt like I was never able to fall asleep. However, I was surprised to hear that they received plenty of data.

Despite me feeling like I was awake the entire night, I checked my Whoop strap, and it showed I slept most of the night except for when I had to flip over to my back. I also had more REM sleep and less wake periods than usual.

Results and Final Thoughts

It took about 2 days before getting a call from the sleep center to go over results. Thankfully, sleep apnea was not detected, which was a relief. At the same time, it was bittersweet, as I was hoping to get some answers. They did mention that I could be experiencing insomnia, but I didn’t receive a diagnosis.

If you feel like you can’t concentrate during the day, feel fatigued and drowsy, it might be worth asking your doctor about getting a sleep study done. Despite me feeling uncomfortable the whole night, it’s a harmless study that could reveal important information about your health, and it's accepted by most insurance companies!

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