You will be told to arrive at the sleep center at a certain time in the evening. This is usually between 5:30 pm and 9:30 pm. One of the staff will greet you and lead you to your bedroom. A technologist will show you the equipment that will be used for the study. his will be a good time for you to ask any questions about how the study works. You should inform him or her of any recent changes in your sleep. Also tell him or her of any specific problems that you did not already discuss with your doctor. There will most likely be a few papers that you need to fill out at this point.
You will be given time to change into nightclothes and to make yourself at home in the bedroom. You should get ready for bed in the same way you do at home. There may be a waiting period where you have some extra time to relax. You can read or watch TV. When the technologist returns, be sure to confirm your wake-up time in the morning. Inform him or her if you have an early-morning commitment that you need to keep.
Next, about two dozen sensors are applied to the skin of your head and body with a mild adhesive. These small metal discs are called electrodes. They are connected to a computer and record the vital signs of your sleep. The wires are long enough to let you move around and turn over in bed. Flexible elastic belts around your chest and abdomen measure your breathing. A clip on your finger or earlobe monitors your heart rate and the level of oxygen in your blood. None of these devices are painful. They are all designed to be as comfortable as possible. The sensors may feel strange on your skin at first. But most people get used to them very quickly. They should not be an obstacle that keeps you from falling asleep. After everything is hooked up, you will do a test to make sure it is all in working order. You will be asked to move your eyes, clench your teeth and move your legs. Once it is all ready, you are free to read or watch TV until your normal bedtime. Then the lights are turned out and it is time for you to go to sleep.
You may have questions or concerns about having the sensors placed on you. Perhaps you use a hearing aid, wear a hairpiece, or have sensitive skin. Be sure to discuss these and any other concerns with your doctor before you arrive at the sleep center.