Alamo Sleep Disorders Center

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FAQ's Frequently Asked Questions

At Alamo Sleep Disorders Center, we want you to be informed and feel comfortable about the sleep study process. Please find below a list of Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) and click to see answers.


Q. How long will my sleep study last?

A sleep study usually lasts one night. Depending on the results of the study, additional tests may be required.

Q. What should I bring to my sleep study?

  • A Completed Sleep History Questionnaire
  • Comfortable loose clothes to wear to bed – pajamas, nightgown, shorts and a tee shirt or sweat clothes
  • Any Medications that you need to take during the night
  • A book or magazine to read before bed
  • You may want to bring your own pillow if you prefer
  • Toothbrush , toothpaste, and other toiletries

Q. How should I prepare for my sleep study?

  • Bathe/shower and wash your hair. Please leave your hair in its natural state. No hair weaves, braids clips or other devices can be used due to our testing procedures. 
  • Do not apply any lotions, conditioners, gels, or creams to your hair or body.
  • Do not have any caffeine products after 12 noon on the day of your study.
  • Do not take any naps during the day or your study.
  • On the day of your study, please awaken 1-2 hours earlier than normal, if possible.
  • Please notify us in advance if you have any special needs or concerns.
  • Continue to take all of your current medications and bring any medications you take at night to the center. 
  • We can not administer medications.

Q. What time will I need to arrive and leave?

We ask that you arrive at our Sleep Center at your scheduled time. This will allow us to prepare the equipment and will allow you to get acclimated to the sleep laboratory environment before the test begins. Your test will end at approximately 6:00am and you should be able to leave the laboratory before 6:30am. 

If you are not driving yourself, please arrange for your transportation to arrive and depart at the proper times. We can arrange for you to depart earlier if necessary, just notify the sleep technician of your time requirements upon your arrival at the laboratory. Our Laboratory is equipped only to handle our patients. Members of your family may stay with you until it is time for testing to begin, then they will be required to leave.

Q. What should I expect after I arrive?

Shortly after you arrive, you will be taken to your private bedroom. You will be asked for the completed sleep history form, Insurance card, ID, and other information. You will also be asked to pay any co-insurance or other payment which may be required. You will then be asked to change into your night clothes.

The sleep technicians will apply electrodes to your face, head, chest, and legs. The electrodes are attached with either paste or tape. There are approximately 15 electrodes along with multiple sensors to be applied, and it takes about 30 minutes to complete this procedure. You may be able to relax with a book or magazine, or watch television during this time.

Many patients worry needlessly about these electrodes. The electrodes simply record the electrical activity present in your body; they do not generate any electrical current of their own. Most importantly, the application of the electrodes does not hurt. You may feel a little strange with electrodes and wires attached to your face and head, but the procedure is entirely painless.  After your hook-up is completed, you may relax until about 10 PM.

Q. What happens at bedtime?

At about 10 PM or later, the technician will prepare to start the recording of your study. There will be a technician in the monitoring room all night. If you need anything during the night, all you need to do is push the call button and speak to the technician through the intercom.
All patients are expected to stay in bed for seven hours. This means that the technicians will generally be waking you up around 6 AM.  At this time they will remove your electrodes. If you are to be tested during the day, some – though not all – of your electrodes will be removed in the morning. Patients who remain for daytime testing are served breakfast about 7:30 AM.

Q. When will I get my test results?

The sleep study that you have completed is a data-intensive procedure.  Each thirty seconds that you spent in bed resulted in a computer screen's worth of brain waves, respiratory signals, and oxygen measurements (among other data).  This thirty second screen is called an epoch.  In each sleep study, there are usually 750 to 1200 epochs.  Brain waves vary from individual to individual; therefore, computers are not yet able to accurately interpret them.

Each epoch is first hand-scored by a trained individual, then a board-certified sleep specialist physician from Alamo Sleep Disorders Center reviews each individual epoch of data.  This process separates us from many laboratories that only require the technologist running the study review the epochs. 

The purpose of our procedure is to produce high quality, accurate and thorough sleep study results.  Due to our insistence on quality, your sleep study results will not be available until they have been analyzed by one of our sleep specialists.  This may take up to seven to ten business days.  If you have a doctor's  appointment before this timeframe, you can request that your results be expedited.

Q. Can I have visitors?

While you are undergoing a sleep study, you will not be able to have visitors. A phone is available if you need to contact someone.

Q. Why would I need a second over-night study?

If you can be diagnosed with sleep apnea before 2am, your technician will automatically wake you up to administer the CPAP titration part of the study.  Sometimes you won't have the apneas until later in the night during your REM sleep.  If this is the case, there will not be sufficient CPAP titration study time after you  are diagnosed.  You may need to come back for an over-night study to complete this part of the study. 

It is not appropriate to treat a condition that is not yet properly diagnosed, and insurances require a diagnosis with documentation and a full and complete CPAP titration study in order to cover the CPAP treatment.

end faq