The day of the test the patient should avoid naps, caffeine and alcohol. Certain medications should also be skipped, ask the doctor first before discontinuing any prescribed drugs. Hair needs to be washed and thoroughly dried about 2 hours before the test reporting time. Do not use any hair gel, dressings or hairspray. These may interfere with the bonding agent used to apply the electrodes. Pack an overnight bag that contains toothbrush and toothpaste, hairbrush, clothes for the next morning and deodorant. Some sleep study centers have showers available for the patient to use. Check and if this is so, don't forget the soap and shampoo.

After arriving for the sleep study, the technician will ask a series of questions. The patient will then be allowed to get into their night clothes before the application of the electrodes to their head and body. They will also be allowed to make a bathroom trip before the set up begins. Teeth should be brushed at this time although it can be done later if one forgets.

Now it's time for set up. This part of the test takes about 45 minutes. Tiny electrodes are glued to the patients scalp in many different locations and to the limbs. These electrodes record brain waves and eye movement. A microphone is taped over the Adam's Apple to record the loudness and rhythm of any snoring and a pulse oximeter is taped to one of the fingers. This monitors the oxygen saturations in the blood. Belts are placed around the chest and abdomen. These belts record breathing effort and depth. During sleep, a video recorder will record any body movements such as thrashing, twitching, or excessive repositioning.

Patients will be allowed to read or watch television while preparing to sleep. Water and small snacks are often allowed. Even though there are wires connected to almost every part of the body, most patients have no problem falling asleep. If a bathroom trip is needed, the electrodes stay connected to the patient. The wiring harness can be unhooked from the monitoring equipment and taken to the bathroom.

If extremely serious situations are discovered, the second half of the test will involve finding correct interventions. If the sleep is disruptive, but not an immediate life threat, the study will continue throughout the night in order to get as much information as possible. In the morning, the electrodes are removed and the patient is allowed to leave. The sleep study results will be evaluated by a doctor knowledgeable about sleep disorders and a synopsis sent the the patients ordering physician.

Although it may be uncomfortable knowing every move, scratch, and twitch is being recorded by sensors and camera, it is only for one night and may lead to a major life improvement. Most people who have a sleep study actually embrace the test, knowing that an end to the sleep deprivation is near.