Prepare for Your Sleep Study

Sleep Center

Once a physician refers a patient to the Bon Secours Sleep Lab, our sleep specialists will perform a full sleep evaluation. This may result in a referral for an overnight sleep study and/or a daytime series of sleep disorder tests.

If you have an appointment with the Bon Secours Sleep Lab, please make sure that you have completed your sleep study questionnaire prior to your visit:

  • If your sleep study will be at Bon Secours DePaul Medical Center, please fill out this questionnaire prior to your visit and fax to 757-889-4376. You may also mail it to the address below.
  • If your sleep study will be at Bon Secours Maryview Medical Center, please fill out this questionnaire prior to your visit and fax to 757-399-8854. You may also mail it to the address below.

Overnight Sleep Study

Before the study

  • Please do not arrive early for your scheduled appointment as the technologist performing your study may not yet be on duty.
  • Please bring a list of all your medications as well as dosages and the reason for taking them to your sleep study appointment.
    • Please take as many of your normal medications prior to coming to the study unless otherwise instructed.
  • Please wash your hair the morning or night prior to your study. Do Not put any oils, leave in conditioners, mousses, gels or hairspray in your hair after washing. Avoid the use of lotions on your face and legs.
    • A shower and towels are provided but you will need to bring your own toiletries.
  • Avoid afternoon naps, caffeine, and alcoholic beverages.
  • The cafeteria is closed at night, so we recommend that, if desired, you bring a snack and non-alcoholic beverage. Avoid drinking excessive liquids within four hours of the study to reduce bathroom breaks.
  • It is recommended that pajama tops and bottoms (as opposed to nightgowns or night shirts) be worn during your sleep study for optimal recording.

During the study

  • Plan to arrive for an overnight sleep study at 8 pm. You will have time to change into nightclothes and get ready for bed. 
  • Patients typically go to bed between 10 and 11 pm.At the Bon Secours Sleep Center, the surroundings and the bedroom are homey and comfortable like a hotel room. Most patients fall asleep quickly. Moreover, the sensors and devises used in the sleep study do not prevent most patients from falling asleep.
  • Monitoring leads will be placed around your mouth, eyes, under your chin, on your scalp, on your legs and bands around the chest and abdomen. Blood oxygen levels are monitored with a finger probe.
    • If you are planning surgery for obesity, strict use of CPAP is required if Sleep Apnea is diagnosed.
    • If CPAP is initiated, some insurance plans require strict adherence to its use, or they will not cover the machine.
  • The person having the sleep study is the only one in the room during the study period. If another individual needs to be present, arrangements in another room can be made.
  • The sleep technicians will stay awake all night while you sleep to make sure that you are safe and also to monitor your sleep. They and their equipment will be in a room separate from your sleeping room. Your sleep may be videotaped for later review of any abnormalities observed during the study.
  • During the study, we will ask to sleep on your back, if possible. This position is best to observe the degree of sleep breathing problems. Inform the technician if you are unable to sleep in this position.
  • If you need to go the bathroom, say out loud that you need to go to the bathroom. The technician will hear you and come in and unplug you from the box and then you are free to get up. Most patients need to get up at least once during the night.
  • A television is available in each room, however, it cannot remain on during the study as it inhibits proper monitoring of the sleep study. 
  • A time free environment is best for sleep studies. Please refrain from checking the time during the study.


  • Discharge usually occurs between 6:30 and 7 am the next day. 
    • If you will be picked up by another person in the morning, the driver should come directly to the sleep lab to get you. 
  • Some patients may stay for a Multiple Sleep Latency Test. This test requires that you stay at the center for most of the following day for a series of short naps beginning the morning after your overnight study. In these cases, breakfast and lunch are provided. Patients taking this test are encouraged to bring items, like books and DVDs, to fill time between naps. 
  • After your study, a sleep technologist processes the large amount of data recorded during the night. A sleep specialist with special knowledge of sleep and its disorders then interprets the information. Preliminary results are available within two business days, official results are available in seven days.

      The nap test

      Some patients will be staying until the following afternoon to do a multiple nap test. A standard part of that test is a urine drug screen. If you are doing this test, you may be instructed to stop certain medications that may interfere with the test. The nap test will be cancelled if the medications have not been discontinued. Should you require sedative medication the evening before (with the overnight sleep study), then the nap test will be cancelled.

      Additional nights

      A second night is usually required if CPAP (continuous positive airway pressure) treatment is necessary. The first night in the sleep lab is diagnostic in nature; if you meet the criteria for CPAP during the first nights' study, the staff will call you to schedule the second portion of your study. 


      Preliminary results are available within two business days, official results are available in seven days.