Preparing to Visit a Sleep Center

By Jason McDrarren

Many people suffer from a sleep disorder. If you or your doctor expects this might be the case, then it could be necessary to visit a sleep center. There are many sleep centers located throughout the United States. In fact, the number of sleep centers is rising every year because they can effectively identify sleep disorders and recommend appropriate treatments.

A visit to a sleep center usually involves an overnight stay. The cost for this type of visit can be quite high, sometimes costing several thousand dollars. Additionally, multiple visits may be required. It is common to spend at least two nights at a sleep center. If you have health insurance, be sure to see if your visit will be covered. Most insurers will pay for most or even all of the expense.

When preparing to visit a sleep center, it is good to keep a sleep diary. This will aid the doctors in identifying your particular sleep problem. It is also important to refrain from drinking anything with caffeine after noon on the day you are scheduled to arrive. After all, you want to be able to sleep when you get there.

Many people are unsure what to bring when they stay at a sleep center. However, you can pack light and bring what you might bring when staying at a hotel. You are welcome to bring your own pillow. It might also be good to bring some reading material. Often you will have a television to watch, if you choose. Basically, you will get to read or watch TV and then go to sleep. A technician will prepare the required equipment to monitor you while you sleep.

Sleep centers use polysomnography to record information while you sleep. This will necessitate the application of several electrodes to the body. These electrodes are hardly noticeable and will be applied on the scalp and face. Others will be placed on the chest, legs, and hands. In addition, video footage and audio recording may be taken of your sleep to aid researches in identifying your particular sleep disorder.

After the equipment is prepared, you will be left alone to sleep. The equipment is all light weight and doesn't bother most people. You should be able to fall asleep just as if you were at home or visiting a hotel. Your room will probably have a call button so that you can request assistance if you need to use the restroom or something. This is much like a hospital room intercom that calls a nurse. Generally you will try to sleep a full eight hours so that the technicians will have all the required data to work with.

The measurements taken throughout the night will be stored in a computer. There will also be a technician monitoring the data throughout the night. The data are further analyzed and might be sent away for statistical analysis before you finally learn the results.

Visiting a sleep center is not such a big deal. The stay is usually very comfortable and the amount of information that can be gleaned from just a single night makes it more than worthwhile. In no time you will finally understand why you have trouble sleeping and what you can do about it. - 30540

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