In general, when someone is speaking about a sleep study they are talking about a Polysomnogram, or the acronym "PSG" for short. A PSG is ordered when a doctor believes that a patient has a sleep disturbance that can only be measured while the patient is asleep. The purpose of the sleep study is to record every facet of a patient's sleep period,in order to determine the right course of treatment.
A PSG records:
In general, much in information can be gathered from a sleep study such as: sleep onset latency, REM sleep onset latency , number of awakenings during the night, total sleep duration, percentage of time in each sleep phase, and arousals.
After you arrive for your sleep study a certified sleep technician will prep you for your test. The technician will place small sticky sensors called electrodes on your body and scalp. When they attach the electrodes to your scalp they use an adhesive that is very sticky, but don't worry, they come off with dandruff shampoo. The electrodes are attached by flexible wires which connect to a small box. An elastic belt will be wrapped around your chest and stomach to record movement and breathing patterns. A small sensor will be wrapped around a finger to measure your oxygen levels. While you sleep, a video camera will be recording your sleeping movements so the doctor can track your movement through out the night.
We are sure this sounds like a lot going on and that you will not be comfortable enough to sleep. This is a completely normal reaction. But don't worry, You don't need to sleep the full night for the technician to get all the information they need. Try not to over think the process and be comfortable knowing that this study may change your life for the better. Sleep Well!