What is a Sleep Study?

A sleep study (polysomnogram) is a study that measures the quality of your sleep and includes the following:

  • Brain waves (electrodes placed on the scalp)
  • Eye movement (electrodes placed on the face, by the eyes)
  • Chin Muscle Tone (electrodes placed on or near the chin)
  • Heart rate (electrodes placed on the chest)
  • Leg movements (electrodes placed on the legs) 
  • Breathing (breathing sensor placed near the nose and
  • mouth)
  • Breathing effort (two small elastic belts placed around chest and abdomen)
  • Oxygen level (small sensor attached to the finger) 
  • Audio and Video Taping

What are the stages of sleep?

  Stage 1
  Lightest stage of sleep, transitional stage from wake.

  Stage 1 shifts 
  Number of times the sleep stage changed to stage 1.

  Stage 2 
  First true stage of sleep.

  Stage 3-4
  Deepest, most restorative sleep.

  Stage REM
  Dreaming stage; Normally occurs every 60-90 minutes.

How do you know if you should have a sleep evaluation?

·         You suffer from loud snoring

·         Your bed partner has observed that you stop breathing or struggle to breathe in your sleep

·         You wake up in the morning feeling tired and unrefreshed

·         You have daytime fatigue and sleepiness

·         You suffer from depression


Why is it necessary to record all these things?

During sleep your body functions differently than when you are awake. The sensors determine how well your body is functioning and are necessary in order to get a complete picture of what is happening.

Can I sleep comfortably with all these things attached to me?

Most people sleep quite well. The electrodes and other devices are applied so that you can move fairly free in your sleep without disturbing them. None of the devices are painful and a technician is available to help make you as comfortable as possible.

How are the electrodes applied?

The application is done in two stages. First, the area where the electrode is to be applied will be cleaned to remove normal body oils. Second, the electrodes on hairless areas will be taped securely so they will not come loose. On the head, the electrodes will be secured with paste and gauze.

What if I have to go to the bathroom or get a drink during the night?

The technician can hear you through an audio system and can see you on their monitors. You can ask the technician if you need to get up. They do not have to remove any wires. They will disconnect the wiring box from your bedside equipment and you can carry that small box with you. When you return, the technician will reconnect the box to the bedside equipment.

Will anyone be in the Sleep Center while I am sleeping?

You will have your own room with a queen size bed. A trained technician will remain in the Sleep Center control room and will use audio and visual monitoring continuously throughout your study. You can talk to the technician at any time. The technician is responsible for making your stay in the Sleep Center comfortable, pleasant and safe.

Is the study covered by insurance?

Sleep studies are covered under most medical insurance plans, although deductibles and percentages of coverage vary. We will verify insurance benefits and coverage prior to your sleep study. Please feel free to call our office staff at (973) 272-6933 with any questions or concerns you may have.

What is a Multiple Sleep Latency Test (MSLT)?

This is a daytime test consisting of a series of 20-minute naps. Sensors and electrodes are used to record information, similar to the polysomnogram test. 20-minute long naps are given every two hours throughout the day. You can watch TV, access WiFi or read/work during the day to keep you occupied in between naps.

What is titration, as it pertains to sleep studies?

If a sleep study determines you have Obstructive Sleep Apnea, you will need a "titration study." A titration study can take place on the same night as your diagnosing sleep study or scheduled for a later date.

Titration is a scientific lab term, meaning to slowly add a little bit more of something until you reach a desired effect. During your study a skilled technician will monitor your sleep and slowly increase the air pressure on a CPAP machine until you are able to sleep without or with few sleep events (apneas and hypopneas). Your pressure needs vary throughout the night, so an overnight sleep study is required to prescribe you the correct pressure.

Your prescribed CPAP pressure setting will be what your sleep technician determines as the highest you will need during the night. By prescribing the highest pressure, your doctor hopes to prevent as many sleep events as possible. The downside of this approach is that you will have the highest pressure at all times even when it's only necessary for part of the night.

APAPs, BiPAPs and BiLevels offer the newer technologies of exhalation relief which you may find helps your therapy.


Clifton Center For Sleep Disorders
6 Brighton Road, Suite 106, Clifton, NJ 07012
Phone: 973.272.6933  Fax: 973.272.6935