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Types of Sleep Studies

Sleep Studies

All sleep tests, often referred to as sleep studies, require a doctor's order. Sleep tests are typically scheduled at night, but can also be arranged during the day (for shift workers). During a sleep test, small and lightweight sensors and electrodes will be attached to you to monitor your brain wave activity, eye movements, limb activity, heart rate, respiratory pattern, snoring, and body movements through a computer/video equipment while you sleep. The goal is to capture 6 1/2 to 7 hours of sleeping.

What Should I Bring?

When you are coming for a sleep test, bring personal toiletries and loose comfortable clothes to sleep in (pajamas, gym shorts, t-shirt or nightgown). Pillows are provided, though you may prefer to bring your own. Bring a snack, if required (we stock crackers, peanut butter, and juice). Your room has a private bathroom. A shower is available if necessary. You will receive a packet in the mail with instructions and a detailed questionnaire. Please fill out and bring the questionnaire.

When coming for a Multiple Sleep Latency Test (MSLT) or Maintenance of Wakefulness Test (MWT), bring something to do between napping periods; such as a book, a DVD player, a laptop (the hospital provides free wireless internet service). Your room will consist of a bed, a recliner, a private bathroom and a television. Dress in casual, loose fitting day clothes.

Preparing for your Sleep Study

  • Arrive at our Danville Campus at 7:45 p.m. using the West Entrance. The Sleep Disorders Center is on the fourth floor. Here is a map of our Danville Campus.
  • Once you are settled in your private room, a technologist will prep you for your sleep test and explain more about the process.
  • Generally, your sleep test will end about 6 a.m. unless you require an earlier wake-up time.
  • Your doctor will typically receive results within seven working days.
  • We ask that patients keep their cell phones off. In case of emergency, family members can reach you by calling (317) 745-8653.

Types of Sleep Studies

Click on the type of test your doctor has ordered to view more information.

Split Sleep Study

A Split Sleep Study is the most common type of sleep study and can potentially be "split" into two parts. During the first half of the test we will record you sleeping, looking in particular for Obstructive Sleep Apnea (OSA). If you have OSA and it is significant enough to require treatment, during the second half of the test we will treat you with Positive Airway Pressure (PAP) Therapy. PAP therapy is placing a small mask over your nose which is connected to a PAP device. Continuous airflow pressures are adjusted to keep the airway open and free from obstruction. PAP is the most common treatment for OSA.

The goal of the Split Sleep Study is to obtain the diagnosis and therapeutic PAP settings all from one test. Sometimes a person may not sleep well the first half of the test, or sometimes we don't see OSA until later in the test when it's too late to treat with PAP, so occasionally it takes two tests to complete both the diagnosis and treatment portions. But if OSA turns out to be your problem, usually only one test is required. Top »

Positive Airway Pressure (PAP) Trial

A PAP Trial is conducted on individuals already diagnosed with OSA but who still require treatment with PAP. In addition to the sensors and electrodes used during a sleep study, PAP will be used and adjusted with the goal of finding therapeutic pressure settings which treat the OSA and allow for a good night's sleep.

A PAP Trial is sometimes conducted on individuals already wearing PAP at home, but who are no longer feeling rested. The goal in this test is to verify the home settings and to adjust them if necessary. Home pressure settings are most commonly readjusted for weight gain or loss or for several years since the last Sleep Study. You do not need to bring your home machine with you for this type of test. (You can, if you wish, bring your home PAP mask and we will use it during the test. If you are not satisfied with your current mask, or don't want to bring it, we will fit you with one.) Top »

Baseline Sleep Study

A Baseline Sleep Study is ordered for diagnosis purposes. Sensors and electrodes are attached to the individual and then several hours of sleep are recorded. There is not a treatment portion to this type of test. The information gathered will be used for diagnosis and a treatment plan. Top »

Multiple Sleep Latency Test (MSLT)

The MSLT is a test to determine the degree of daytime somnolence (sleepiness). The MSLT consists of five napping periods, one nap every two hours. During these nap periods, brainwaves, muscle activity, and heart rhythms are monitored. Test results can be used to diagnose certain sleep disorders such as narcolepsy. Top »

Maintenance of Wakefulness Test (MWT)

The MWT is a test to determine your ability to stay alert during the times you would normally be awake. The MWT consists of four trial periods performed at two hour intervals. During these trial periods you will be instructed to stay awake as long as possible while your brainwaves, muscle activity, and heart rhythms are monitored. This test can be used to evaluate the effectiveness of treatments for sleep disorders or to help establish that an individual can stay alert and awake for a specific job (such as an air traffic controller). Top »

Home Sleep Test (HST)

A Home Sleep Test is a small device (about the size of a cell phone) that can be worn by the individual while they sleep at home. These tests are not for everyone as they record significantly less information that traditional sleep studies. They can only be used to diagnosis suspected moderate-severe OSA. During an HST, the device will be picked up the day of the scheduled test and then dropped off the following morning. Top »


Actigraphy is a wrist watch sized device worn on the wrist to assess motion. It is coupled with a Sleep Diary. Together they provide much data allowing your sleep specialist to estimate sleep onset, hours of sleep, sleep quality, efficiency and pattern. This data is then used to identify many sleep issues, including insomnia, circadian rhythm disorders, fragmented sleep and poor sleep hygiene. The small device records movement and light along with allowing patient input on when they went to bed and got up. Because we are usually not aware of how much we actually sleep, this provides valuable information.

The small device is worn at all times, including during shower and bath. A button on the device is pushed when going to bed and when getting up. A Sleep Diary on a one page form that allows information to be easily recorded is provided to evaluate sleep related activities including when you went to bed, which hours you think you were asleep, timing of caffeine or alcohol consumption and when you took you medicines or exercised. Top »

Call to Schedule

If you have symptoms of a sleep problem, talk with your doctor or call (317) 745-3680 for more information or to make an appointment with a Sleep Specialist.

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