Reviewed by Laura Angers, LPC
Are you someone that struggles to get a good night’s sleep at the end of the day? Do you struggle to maintain a regular sleeping schedule, have difficulty falling asleep, wake up often throughout the night, or find yourself struggling to wake up on time?
Don’t worry, you’re not alone. In fact, over 70 million Americans experience complications with their sleep every night. A majority of them also suffer from other mental, physical, emotional, behavioral, or social issues that affect their quality of life.
That’s why it’s important to monitor your sleeping patterns and ensure you’re receiving the right amount of sleep each and every night. It helps your body recover, helps your brain rejuvenate, and gives every organ, muscle, and system inside the body a much-needed break.
So, when should you visit a sleep disorder center?
Due to the sheer importance of sleep, individuals should consider visiting a sleep disorder center whenever they start having difficulties falling asleep, staying asleep, or waking up on-time. It should also be considered if you notice any changes to the quality of sleep, amount of sleep, or timing of sleep.
According to the National Sleep Foundation, adults need anywhere from 7-9 hours of quality sleep each night to ensure their body has the necessary time to regroup, revive, and recover. That number only increases for teenagers, children, toddlers, infants, and newborns.
Sleep should also be refreshing, revitalizing, invigorating, and on a regulated schedule. Any such problems should be observed and monitored by a medical health professional that specializes in sleeping disorders. Of course, these professionals are often found at a sleep study center.
PREPARING FOR YOUR VISIT
Visiting a sleep disorder center can be one of the most nerve-wracking experiences for someone, but don’t panic. It’s a surprisingly relaxing environment, and one many people are impressed with after their first visit.
Keep in mind the researchers are tasked with getting an accurate measurement of your brain activity levels while sleeping, and that can’t be done unless you’re comfortable enough to fall asleep. That’s why these study centers are often designed to look more like a bedroom — opposed to a doctor’s room.
With that being said, we completely understand why some patients want to know what to expect before visiting a sleep study center. It gives the individual more confidence leading up to the appointment, which is in everyone’s best interest.
To ensure you’re mentally, physically, emotionally, and spiritually prepared for your first visit to a sleep study center, let’s take a quick look at what you need to know before arriving while sleeping, when waking up, and once the study session is complete.
- Before The Visit
Like we mentioned above, the healthcare professional’s main goal is to get an accurate reading throughout the study — that way, they have sufficient data to analyze. To make this easier on the doctors, the individual must pay attention to what they put inside their body before the visit.
That means no caffeine, no alcohol, and even chocolate leading up to the visit. The doctors should also be made aware of any medication you’re taking — including seasonal medication. They might want you to stop taking it or take a lower dose if it affects the readings.
Of course, you’re also going to need to pack an overnight bag for your stay — especially if it’s an overnight sleep study. Treat it like you’re going to a hotel for one night or even a friend’s house. Pack comfortable clothes to wear to bed, a change of clothes for the morning, your favorite pillow or blanket, and your toothbrush.
- Arriving At The Sleep Study Center
Most people arrive at the sleep study center in the evening — some time before bed — but the doctors will give you an exact time leading up to the visit. Once you arrive, you’ll be greeted by the front receptionist and signed in.
When you arrive at your room for the night, you’ll likely be met by the technologist. This is the person that ensures you’re hooked up to everything correctly and will also be the person that monitors you while sleeping.
While filling out any paperwork, the technologist also goes over the different equipment used throughout the process — that way, you’re aware of everything before you start. It’s a great opportunity for you to ask any questions and an opportunity for the doctor to do the same.
You’ll eventually need to get ready for bed the same way you would at home. There’s a chance you have some free time before actually falling asleep, at which point you can watch some television or use your laptop.
All in all, there are nearly 25 different sensors the technologist will hook up to you, including electrodes on your head and body, an elastic belt around your chest, and a sensor on your finger. It might sound constrictive and painful, but they’re designed to be easy to get used to.
- Sleeping At The Sleeping Disorders Clinic
Many people think it’ll be difficult to fall asleep and stay asleep when visiting a sleep study center, but it’s not much different than falling asleep at home. Most people are used to the sensors after 10-20 minutes, and they don’t restrict your movement at all.
There might be times throughout the night where the technologist wakes you up, which is completely normal. This normally happens when they notice something and want to try and fix it immediately. They also might ask you to flip over to your back if you start sleeping on your stomach.
For example, the technologist might wake you up to apply a breathing mask if they notice your breathing is obstructed while sleeping. They’ll simply fit you with a mask, ask you to go back to sleep, and analyze whether or not the problem is solved.
Another question that gets asked often is whether or not you’re allowed to use the bathroom during a sleep study. Despite being hooked up to all those sensors, they’re extremely easy to remove and put back on. Whenever you need to use the bathroom, simply ask the technologist, and they’ll unhook the sensors.
- Is A Daytime Nap Study Necessary?
If needed, the doctors might need you to stay after the overnight sleep study is complete. This is only needed if they want to perform a daytime nap study to record how well you nap during the day. Your doctor will let you know ahead of time whether or not this is necessary.
If it is, the sleep study center will likely have breakfast and lunch recommendations, if not provided. Most nap studies last anywhere from 4-10 hours and consist of anywhere from 1-5 naps. There’s typically a two-hour break in-between naps, which you must fill in with busy work.
You’re hooked up to most of the same equipment as the night before, and the first nap generally starts a few hours after you wake up from nocturnal sleep. Most people bring their laptop, a book, or watch television to pass the in-between nap time.
During these studies, the technologist will largely be looking at how fast you fall asleep in each situation, as well as how well you sleep during each nap. Much like the overnight study, you’re allowed to use the bathroom while hooked up to the monitors, and your technologist will be awake the entire time.
FINDING A SLEEP CLINIC NEAR ME
We understand how stressful and nerve-wracking it must be when setting an appointment at a sleep disorders clinic. Don’t worry; the right sleep clinic makes this an effortless and stress-free process for anyone struggling to receive quality sleep.
It doesn’t matter where you are; you can find a quality sleep clinic near you — whether that’s the best sleep center UCLA has to offer or the most well-known sleep study Los Angeles residents trust.
You might be asking yourself, “How do I know which sleep clinic near me is the best fit?” Don’t worry; we have some tips for you:
- Always ask your primary doctor or mental health professional, whether they have any sleep study clinics they recommend. That’s the best place to start.
- Whether you’re an insured or uninsured patient, make sure the clinic accepts you as a patient before setting an appointment.
- Check to make sure the staff is adequately trained, and the medical professionals are well-equipped to do their job properly.
- Since you have to spend the night and fall asleep inside the center, make sure the staff is welcoming and courteous. You should be treated as a patient.
- If you’re unsure if the sleep clinic is right for you after checking out their website, physically visit the clinic if they allow walk-ins.
It might be nerve-wracking, but calling a sleep disorder center could be the most rewarding decision of your life. There’s nothing more important to our daily routine than sleep. The longer you go without receiving quality sleep, the more it will negatively affect your life.
Of course, not everyone knows when it’s time to visit a sleep study clinic. Don’t worry, that’s where Mind Diagnostics is committed to giving you the necessary tools and resources you need to live your best life.
We’ve created an online sleep disorder test that helps determine your risk of developing or already having a sleep disorder. While we can’t narrow it down to the classification, we’re here to act as the middle-man between you and the healthcare professional that can narrow it down.
When you’re ready to take control of your life and improve your sleep quality each night, contact us today and help you with the next steps!