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Why does the sleep study evaluation process take so long?



You wouldn’t visit a foot doctor (podiatrist) to treat suspected diabetes, would you? Or a reproductive health specialist if you think you’ve gotten a sprained ankle? All levity aside, you would, of course, visit the appropriate medical specialist for the appropriate medical condition.

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What is an Overnight Sleep Study (Polysomnogram)?

Kristen Havens

If your doctor suspects you have a sleep disorder like sleep apnea, sleep related movements, or narcolepsy, he or she may refer you to a sleep center for an overnight sleep study, or polysomnogram. The purpose of this sleep study is to monitor you while you sleep, to get a more complete picture of what’s happening in your brain and to your body.

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Overnight Sleep Study: What are all These Wires for?


If your physician recommends that you undergo an overnight sleep study, also known as nocturnal polysomnography (NPSG), you might be curious what it involves and what you can expect from it. You might also wonder what are the wires used in the sleep study are for.

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What is a CPAP Titration Sleep Study?

Tamara Kaye Sellman, RPSGT, CCSH

Sometimes a patient will participate in a sleep study to identify or confirm a diagnosis of sleep apnea.

Imagine their surprise, then, when they discover they need to go back to the sleep center and take part in yet another sleep study?

This doesn't always happen; some sleep studies identify sleep disorders other than sleep apnea, and they usually only require one trip to the sleep lab for diagnosis.

For those who do have sleep apnea, they might undergo a same-night "split night study" to both diagnose and treat moderate to severe sleep apnea, which doesn't usually require a return trip to the lab. This is because they have more severe symptoms and have been "green lighted" by the sleep physician to start therapy right away.

However, someone who has mild to moderate sleep apnea may need to return for a test called a CPAP titration study.

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What is a Split Night Sleep Study and why would I need one?

Tamara Kaye Sellman, RPSGT, CCSH

When you are scheduled to undergo a sleep study, you may not realize that there is more than one kind of sleep study.

Aside from the home sleep apnea test (HSAT)—which you may have already experienced—there are three main in-lab, overnight sleep tests you might encounter.

Many people start with an overnight or nocturnal polysomnogram (NPSG), a baseline diagnostic test.

Others may already have an apnea diagnosis and return for a CPAP titration study, which involves starting the night using positive airway pressure (PAP) therapy.

A third test is a blend of both of these, the split night study.

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How to prepare for a sleep study (polysomnogram)

Tamara Kaye Sellman, RPSGT, CCSH

When you are scheduled for a nocturnal polysomnogram, otherwise known as an attended sleep study, you may have lots of questions and concerns about this kind of test.

Keep in mind that the sleep medicine technologists at most sleep centers are prepared for all of these inquiries; they are also trained to provide you with a safe, relaxing, and comfortable experience that's based on your specific healthcare needs.

They understand that you will arrive anxious (most patients do) and that a night away from the comfort of one's own bed may yield slightly different results.

However, these tests are conducted in a way that still allows for a full range of data collection for your sleep physician to interpret, and even if you don't sleep as soundly as you would at home, you will still get enough sleep to provide adequate information for the doctor to review.

Most patients who come in thinking they will never fall asleep invariably do, with or without the help of a sleep aid. First night effect is real, but it shouldn't intrude upon your testing outcomes. You will spend quite a bit of time, one on one, with your sleep technologist, and they can answer many, if not most, of the questions or concerns you have about your test. 

Most sleep centers offer well-appointed sleep suites that include a bathroom, a large bed, multiple pillows and blankets, fans, noise machines, and television.

You may spend the entirety of your stay inside your suite, or you may be allowed to move around the facility (even while "hooked up"), depending upon the way the sleep center is arranged and whether it's part of a hospital campus.

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How much does a sleep study cost? (Prices and Rates)

Tamara Kaye Sellman, RPSGT, CCSH

At Sound Sleep Health, we provide a full range of sleep testing services, including CPAP titration studies, home sleep testing, multiple sleep latency tests, maintenance of wakefulness testing, PAP naps, EEG diagnostics, and actigraphy.

Regardless of your insurance status, you are encouraged to ask questions about medical pricing related to the sleep testing procedures we perform.

We believe our patients deserve transparency about the costs associated with sleep testing at our facilities. Our sleep medicine teams provide excellent service at an affordable rate and we are proud to be competitive with other providers in the Seattle area.

As you review our pricing, please remember that your individual insurance coverage (whether through a private insurer, insurance pool, or Medicare/Medicaid) may vary with regard to reimbursements for sleep studies, sleep specialist fees, and equipment. To know just what your insurance carrier will cover, you will need to consult your policy or call them directly.

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Sleep Apnea, Opioid Pain Medication, and the Sleep Study

Tamara Kaye Sellman, RPSGT, CCSH

Chronic pain is the enemy of sleep. It leads to sleep complaints for an estimated 28 million Americans. At the same time, millions also suffer from another chronic problem: sleep apnea. Doubtless, because of the sheer numbers of people experiencing these problems, there will be crossover between these two patient populations.

Add to the equation a third variable—the use of opioid pain medications to treat chronic pain—and things get even more complicated. Patients who struggle with both pain and sleep apnea may be using opioids to treat one issue... while unwittingly exacerbating the other.

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The Best Sleep Centers in Seattle

Tamara Kaye Sellman, RPSGT, CCSH

We at Sound Sleep Health take pride in providing a full range of high-quality sleep health services for our patients.

Sometimes patients who need sleep clinic services are unable to make an appointment with us and request that we make recommendations. While we hope you would make Sound Sleep Health your first choice for sleep health, we also recommend the following specialists in Seattle. 

The Best Sleep Centers in Seattle

Here are some of our favorite sleep health service providers in the area...

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What is the best sleep study for my problem?

Tamara Kaye Sellman, RPSGT, CCSH

When sleep physicians refer to sleep studies, they are actually talking about a full range of different tests which are conducted based on protocols and parameters established by the American Academy of Sleep Medicine (AASM).

There are dozens of sleep disorders that require some form of testing in order to identify and treat them. Here are the most common sleep studies being performed in sleep centers. The best sleep study for you is likely going to be one (or more) of these.

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