What Happens at a Sleep Clinic?

Dec 30, 2020 | Sleep Apnea

Have you been having trouble sleeping? If you go to your doctor, they may recommend seeing a sleep specialist. And getting a sleep study conducted. But what happens at a sleep clinic? You can ask for some information from your Doctor. However, they may not know enough to put you at ease.

It’s perfectly normal to be nervous and a bit uneasy about sleep studies. You’re not alone, many uncertain feelings swirl around the minds of new sleep clinic patients.

In this article, we are going to ease your mind about what happens at a sleep clinic and what sleep specialists do during your study. Your new awareness will make your experience much more tolerable and keep your anxiety low.

So, let’s get started by finding out exactly why your Dr. would recommend a sleep specialist in the first place.

When Is A Sleep Specialist the Best Decision?

If you have been trouble sleeping for at least 3 weeks,it’s time to see your doctor. Deciding to see a sleep doctor will depend on what disorder you doctor thinks you have. There are up to over 80 sleep disorders documented but we will discuss the 4 most common.

If your primary doctor suspects you have, Insomnia, Sleep Apnea, Narcolepsy, and Restless Leg Syndrome (RLS). These four disorders can severely harm your overall health if left untreated. This is when you will receive a referral to see a sleep specialist.

Note: Sleepwalking is another disorder that many suffer from that sleep specialist study and treat.

Let’s briefly go over the top 4 sleep disorder.

  1. Insomnia – This is a sleeping disorder where you do not sleep, your body and mind are tired, but you cannot fall asleep for long periods of time.
  2. Narcolepsy – This is when you can fall asleep at any time. If you are in a relaxing position you can fall asleep, even while driving a car or operating heavy machinery. It is sudden.
  3. Sleep Apnea – This is a disorder the causes you to stop breathing as you sleep, it can happen because of physiological characteristics like weight, neck circumference, or abnormally small airway. It can also be from a neurological disorder when your brain and nervous system don’t communicate during sleep.
  4. Restless Leg Syndrome – This is a condition that causes an uncontrollable sensation to move your legs, this usually happens because of feeling uncomfortable in some way. Happens primarily in the evenings when resting.

What is A Sleep Specialist?

It is common that sleep specialists are in the psychology or medical field respectively. They normally hold degrees such as Ph.D., MD, or DO and also hold the esteemed credential from the American Board of Sleep Medicine.

These medical professionals focus on sleeping disorders and use special techniques to determine what is happening to you as you sleep.

In a later section, we uncover exactly what happens at a sleep clinic when a sleep study is done.

Based on your symptoms and your explanation to your Dr about not getting enough sleep to feel well-rested. And having lower energy and focus throughout your day. Your primary care physician, internist, or family doctor will send you to a sleep specialist to get further details about the sleeping disorder.

What Happens When You See a Sleep Specialist?

The sleep study is a noninvasive exam done overnight. This study allows doctors to monitor what happens to you as you sleep and monitor your brain activity. It is common to go to a sleep clinic and meet with your specialist. You can set up for an overnight stay at the sleep clinic, and in some cases, you can do a sleep study from the comfort of your own home.

When you go to see a sleep doctor, they will begin the appointment with a series of questions that funnel down to a specific purpose. They are trying to see if your symptoms qualify you for a specific type of sleeping test. This test is called a polysomnogram and it’s given to help diagnose what your brain waves are doing when you sleep.

That’s not all. You also have other electrodes placed all over your body in various areas. A total of 25 to be exact. The electrodes not only monitor your brainwaves. But, eye movement, muscle twitching, chest wall movement, and airflow as you breathe through your nose and mouth.

The Atmosphere

If you choose to sleep at the clinic you will be given a room that is comfortable, dark, and decorated like a bedroom, normally you are asked to come a few hours before your bedtime. You can bring anything you want that makes you feel comfortable as you sleep.

Just before you go to bed, the sleep study technician places the electrodes we talked about earlier. The electrodes don’t hurt in any way and you still have enough room to move comfortably in your bed.

Polysomnographic technology specialists will monitor you as you sleep throughout the night. Just in case you need to use the bathroom or something else you made need. The technologist gathers all the information and gives it to the dr.

Next Steps

Now that you know what happens at a sleep clinic what happens next?

Well, first the doctor will review your test, you normally will make a follow-up appointment for 2 weeks out. So,you’re the sleep doctor can review the test and come up with a diagnosis if there is one.

On your follow up visit your sleep doctor will discuss your results, the diagnosis, and their recommendations. For example, if you are diagnosed with sleep apnea you will then be fitted and ordered a mask. At Sleep Better Columbus, you will be given one on one professional and caring attention.

The services and options available for sleep apnea are endless. You can find a CPAP device that will be comfortable, and affordable. You can also select an Oral Appliance that doesn’t evolve a mask or a machine (for OSA only).


Dr. Levy has been servicing the Columbus area for years and welcomes you to call and set an appointment. If you are suffering from any of the disorders mentioned above. If you’re feeling sluggish, have a lack of energy after sleeping, or your doctor recommends you see sleep specialist call (614) 362-7292 today.


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