Why do a sleep study?

Life impacting data

Real time, custom-fit sleep solutions based on your personal data

What an overnight sleep study reveals

At The Sleep Wellness Institute, your sleep test involves a Polysomnogram (PSG). A Polysomnogram is a type of sleep study that records the biophysiological changes that occur during sleep.

The PSG monitors brain function, eye movements, muscle activity, heart rhythm, respiratory airflow and respiratory effort. Scroll below to see actual screen shots of a sleep study.

Here’s why we need to know this data:

When you sleep, the soft tissue at the back of our neck relaxes. When this tissue relaxes too much — either narrowing or collapsing — it causes you to stop breathing and you may find yourself waking up gasping for air. The lapse in breathing causes the your oxygen levels to drop and carbon dioxide levels to rise, leading to alarming changes in the body and stress on main organs including the heart, kidneys and brain. When a person stops breathing during sleep and then wakes up gasping for air, the brain sends a shot of adrenaline to the heart, speeding up the heartbeat. This behavior is equivalent to putting your body through a stress test every night!

Your doctor is looking for your body’s exact data so you can get the proper treatment plan. 

Untreated sleep apnea can cause day-to-day stressors, such as drowsiness, reduced concentration and moodiness. Long-term, sleep apnea can lead to medical problems including high blood pressure, heart attack, stroke, diabetes, certain types of cancer and even death. Treating sleep apnea can reduce your risk of experiencing these health issues and help you return to a better quality of life.


Here’s how we gather the data

Before you go to sleep, a technician will set up multiple wires to monitor different aspects of your body during sleep. While wearing the wires can feel unusual at first, they are essential for assessing the root of the problem in order to achieve the best solution. The wires are not painful in any way — they are simply adhered to your skin like a sticker. They collect robust information from different parts of the body:  

  • Electrodes on the head monitor what stage of sleep you’re in. (These electrodes are applied with a paste that washes right out with shampoo.)
  • Monitors near the eyes monitor REM sleep and eye movement
  • Monitors near the jaw measure clenching or teeth grinding as well as REM sleep.
  • A microphone records snoring.
  • Two monitors are placed on your chest to monitor your heart.
  • Two elastic belts are placed on your chest and abdomen to measure your breathing effort.
  • Two monitors on each leg (near your calf) assess whether you kick your legs around at night.
  • A probe is placed on your finger to measure your oxygen level.

Don’t worry — if you need the wires unplugged for any reason, such as to use the bathroom during the night, a technician will be ready to assist you. Your room has built in microphones — just talk normally into the room to let your technician know that you need assistance.

When you’re sleeping, you’ll be able to freely move about. You can sleep in your normal sleeping position, but your technician may ask you to roll over onto your back if you don’t do that naturally during the night. This is because people have more breathing events when they sleep on their backs than on their sides, and we want to obtain data on every position.

Our sleep suites are designed to feel like a comfortable bedroom to help you feel at home. However, if you feel that the monitoring wires or unfamiliar setting will make it too difficult for you to fall asleep, you can ask your physician for a one-time sleep aid. This will not interfere with the results of your study.

If your sleep study is a diagnostic study, meaning that you have never been on CPAP before, the technician will familiarize you with CPAP before you go to sleep. They’ll fit you with a mask and let you try it in case they need to wake you in the middle of the night to put you on CPAP. You’ll be put on CPAP during the night if you meet the criteria to do so.

sleep wellness institute sleep lab techs viewing monitors

Our highly trained staff monitor and evaluate:

Breathing Events per hour of sleep
Cardiac abnormalities
Leg movements
Body position
Oxygen saturation

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sleep tech showing patient equipment in a sleep study room

The Sleep Wellness Technicians are trained specialists

At The Sleep Wellness Institute, you work with sleep technicians who are trained respiratory therapists and are Board Registered Polysomnogram Technicians (BRPTs). The Sleep Wellness Institute holds the gold standard for its sleep technicians. TSWI is accredited as a sleep center through the American Academy of Sleep Medicine (AASM) and requires that all sleep technicians receive extra certification within one year of their hiring date.

5 stars sleep wellness institute

I was nervous to have this done because I really didn’t know what to expect. The staff was great and eased my mind. They made me feel comfortable. — Laura age 48

Sample Data We Capture

At the Sleep Wellness Institute, we know comfort is key to getting accurate data. We do our best to help you feel at ease while we gather the necessary info we need to help you get a diagnosis. Your sleep study, in simple explanation, tells us: how many times your sleep is getting disrupted and for what reason and how your sleep disruptions are affecting your oxygen level and your heart. We assess breathing abnormalities, sleep disruption, irregular heart rhythms, sleep movement disorders, and seizure activity. This is necessary data to understand what treatment is best for you.

A technician will monitor how many breathing events the patient is experiencing.

A breathing event is characterized by how many times the sleeper stops breathing for at least 10 seconds.

If patient experiences less than 5 “breathing events” per hour of sleep, this is considered normal.

If patient experiences 5-15 breathing events per hour of sleep, he may have mild sleep apnea.

If patient experiences 15-30 breathing events per hour of sleep, he may have moderate sleep apnea.

If patient has more than 30 breathing events per hour of sleep, he may have severe sleep apnea.

It turned out to be a big deal

My wife nagged me for 2 years to get this study. I didn’t want to make the time and honestly, I didn’t think it was a big deal. I was just tired. The test revealed I stopped breathing in the night about 18 times! If I hadn’t taken the study, I never would’ve known.


After the sleep test

The data is sent to the physician for interpretation along with recommendations based on the test results.

Higher rate of success

Treatments for sleep disorders have a high rate of success when an individual simply participates in a sleep study. This commitment in discovering the problem and seeking answers directly relates to an improved quality of life. At the Sleep Wellness Institute, we want to help.

Risk Assessment

Start here by taking a FREE sleep risk assessment now to find a better life through better sleep. This helpful tool is the first step in evaluating your sleep.

Learn More


Do you have sleep apnea? Our Authorized Dealer has readily-available CPAP experts on staff to get you fitted for a better night’s sleep.

Learn more about CPAP

About our Labs

Our private sleep study rooms are like a typical bedroom including amenities like TV and Internet. Our staff will help you feel at home.

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