Preparing for a diagnostic sleep study can be a daunting task. In many cases, the patient is new to the concept of an overnight study and unsure of what to expect during the procedure. Specifically, there is a lot of confusion regarding how a patient should prepare before their study. This lack of understanding can create anxiety about the upcoming appointment and may cause someone who truly needs the procedure to second guess their visit. The Sleep Wellness Institute would like to clarify some of the major dos and don’ts regarding your pre-study preparation. By referencing this checklist, you can better understand how to prepare for your upcoming diagnostic sleep study.
Keep your Meals Regular
The most effective studies are ones which emulate how a person lives on a day-to-day basis. Doing so will help the sleep specialist to accurately determine the issue inhibiting a good night’s rest. To this point, try to eat meals at your normally scheduled times as if you did not have an appointment. By doing this, you can avoid feelings of indigestion or hunger that come with eating too early or too close to bedtime. Your food portions should also be controlled to a level you feel comfortable consuming. For example, do not eat a heavy meal an hour before coming in for the study. Doing so will make it difficult to sleep during the study because of stomach discomfort.
Skip Nap Time
In contrast to maintaining your mealtime routine, there are a few activities we would like to request you refrain from before coming in for your appointment. First and foremost, please avoid taking a nap on the day of your sleep study. The most important part of undergoing a diagnostic sleep procedure is sleep. If an extensive nap is taken before arrival, it can make it difficult for you to fall asleep during the study. Therefore, it is best to avoid napping altogether – a successful study requires as much sleep time as possible.
Put the Coffee Down
Similarly, avoiding the consumption of caffeine prior to your appointment is important for all sleep study patients. The general rule is to refrain from drinking caffeinated drinks after 3:00 P.M. for a nighttime study. Consuming coffee, tea or soda after this time can result in feelings of restlessness during your study.
No “Night Caps”
Alcohol has the potential to affect your body’s sleep habits in a different way. Although it is a commonly held belief that a “night cap” before going to bed can help aid someone into falling asleep, it also has a detrimental impact on the quality of sleep. Consumption of alcohol can keep you in the lighter stages of sleep which can result in a higher likelihood of awakening in the middle of the night once the effects of the alcohol wear off. We ask that you refrain from consuming alcohol on the day of your study.
While these are some of the highlights of the preparation for you sleep study, there may be other requests specified by your sleep provider. Be sure to ask your patient care coordinator for any other requirements prior to your sleep study date.