Both inpatient and home sleep studies are painless and involve monitors that are placed on the body before you go to bed and remain in place while you sleep.
Inpatient sleep studies take place at the Temple Sleep Disorders Laboratory. You will be assigned to your own private room, where you will be monitored while you sleep through the night. These rooms are similar to hotel rooms and are quite comfortable. After you arrive at the sleep center, sensors will be placed on your scalp, face, chest, limbs, and one finger by a nurse or technician. They will also put elastic belts around your belly and chest to measure movement and information about your breathing. All of these sensors are attached to wires, which transmit readings to a computer in another room. The wires are thin and flexible and will be bundled together so that you can move freely while you sleep.
If you show signs of sleep apnea during your sleep study, you may be woken by a technician halfway through the night to fit you with a continuous positive airway pressure (CPAP) device. You can then go back to sleep, and the technician will be able to monitor your sleep with the device to determine whether it is helpful. The technician might also adjust the flow of the machine while you sleep to get the best setting.
Home sleep studies take place at your home. You will have been provided with portable monitoring equipment, and before you go to sleep, you will simply set up the equipment and then sleep as normal. You will return the equipment the next day, and the data from the study will be analyzed by specialists to determine whether you have sleep apnea or any other sleep disorders.
Sometimes, home sleep studies are not sensitive enough to detect a sleep disorder. If your home sleep study is negative, but you continue to experience symptoms associated with sleep problems, you may need to have an inpatient sleep study to gather more detailed information about your sleep.