[Skip to Content]

Sleep Study (Polysomnogram)

What Is a Sleep Study?

A sleep study (also called a polysomnogram) helps doctors diagnose sleep problems. It is an overnight test that can record a variety of body functions while a child sleeps.

Why Is a Sleep Study Done?

Doctors recommend a sleep study if a child may have obstructive sleep apnea or another sleep problem, such as periodic limb movement disorder, restless leg syndrome, or .

How Should We Prepare for a Sleep Study?

Your child should get a normal night's sleep the night before the sleep study, and can take medicines as usual. Your child should not have any caffeine (coffee, tea, chocolate, soda, etc.) and shouldn't nap during the day of the sleep study.

Plan to get to the sleep center at least 2 hours before your child's usual bedtime or whenever the doctor requests.

What Happens During a Sleep Study?

The sleep technician will place sensors at a few spots on your child's body, including the head, around the eyes, chin, and legs. To measure breathing movements, an elastic belt is placed around your child's chest and stomach. The sensors are wired to a computer to provide information during sleep.

During a sleep study, doctors monitor:

  • eye movements
  • heart rate
  • breathing patterns
  • brain waves (EEG)
  • blood oxygen level (pulse ox
  • snoring and other noises
  • body movements and sleep positions

A microphone records sounds and a camera may record your child's sleep. The sleep technician will be there all night, monitoring your child's sleep from a separate room. The sensors and other devices can be removed if your child needs to use the bathroom during the night.

Can I Stay With My Child During a Sleep Study?

Yes, parents or guardians are allowed to stay overnight while their child is getting a sleep study. The sleep center will provide a separate bed or sleeping chair.

How Long Does a Sleep Study Take?

Your child will need to spend the night in a hospital or sleep center. In the morning, the sleep technician will wake your child and remove all sensors. Your child will be done in time to go to school.

When Are Sleep Study Results Ready?

Doctors get a lot of information from a sleep study. It may be a couple of weeks before results are ready. Usually, the doctor will schedule a follow-up appointment to discuss the results.

What Else Should I Know?

To help your child feel comfortable during a sleep study, be sure to bring personal items from home, including pajamas; a favorite pillow, blanket, or stuffed animal; books; or other items that are part of your child's normal bedtime routine.