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515 Main Street, Olean, New York 14760
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Olean General Hospital

SLEEP STUDIES - WHAT TO EXPECT

If your physician suspects that you may have a sleep disorder, he/she will refer you to the Sleep Disorders Center at Olean General Hospital where you will participate in a sleep study. A sleep study (also called a polysomnogram) is a test that records your physical state during various stages of sleep and wakefulness. It provides data that are essential in evaluating sleep and sleep-related complaints.

Your doctor's office will send a referral for a sleep study to the Sleep Center. The Sleep Center coordinator will contact you by phone to schedule your visit, make sure all of your information is correct and get approval from your insurance carrier. Most sleep studies take place at night. If you work overnights or normally sleep during the day instead of at night, please mention it when scheduling your appointment (we do offer daytime sleep studies for night shift workers).

You may participate in a "split night" test, in which half the night will be used to diagnose your sleep problem and the other half will be used to treat the problem. This is sometimes done for people who present with severe symptoms of sleep apnea during their first two hours of sleep the night of the test.

On the night of your sleep study, you should arrive by 8 p.m. at the Sleep Disorders Center at the Mildred Milliman Ambulatory Surgical Center, 500 Main St., Olean. Enter through the main entrance and follow the signs for the Sleep Center on the first floor. A sleep technologist will escort you to your room. You will be asked to complete some questionnaires and watch a video explaining the sleep study process and some specific disorders such as sleep apnea. After the video you will be asked to change into nightclothes.

After changing, the polysomographic technologist will connect you to the electrodes that will record your brain waves and muscle movements throughout the night. The electrodes are placed in specific areas and applied with water-soluble glue and tape. The electrodes record brain wave activity, muscle movement, rapid eye movement (REM), air flow, and periodic limb movement. A microphone attached to your neck records snoring and two belt-like straps around the chest and abdomen monitor your drive to breathe. The equipment may seem overwhelming at first but people seem to adjust to it quickly and it does not impair your ability to change positions while sleeping.

After settling into bed, your technologist will leave your room and go to a monitoring room. Over the intercom you will be instructed to perform certain tasks that will show the electrodes are recording properly. You will be observed on a video monitor during the night which allows the technologist to note your body movements during the study. There are also intercoms in each room so if you need to use the restroom or need help from the technologist, just say so and the technologist will again enter your room and assist you as needed.

When everything is working properly, the lights will be turned off and you can go to sleep. Sometimes it takes a bit longer to fall asleep than it does at home but this is normal in unfamiliar surroundings. You will be awakened in the morning and the electrodes will be removed. Since they are applied with water-soluble glue or tape, removal isn't painful. You will be asked to complete a questionnaire regarding how you slept during the study and then you can go home.

You will need to make an appointment to see a sleep specialist to review the results of your study after it is scored and interpreted by the board certified sleep specialist. The technologists are not able to discuss the results of your study as diagnosing medical conditions must be done by a physician. Based on the results of your sleep study, you may be given treatment for a specific sleep disorder. For example, patients with sleep apnea may be prescribed continuous positive airway pressure (CPAP) which is a device that gently blows filtered and humidified room air into your nasal passages to keep the airway open while you sleep.

To learn more about CPAP, visit the website of our preferred partner in cardiopulmonary equipment Olean General Healthcare.

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