Sleep Center Frequently Asked Questions

A sleep study is considered a unique medical procedure ordered by your sleep specialist. Your comfort during this procedure is very important to us, as is the data we are collecting during testing. We will try to make you as comfortable as possible. By reviewing the following information, we hope this will answer any questions you have about what to expect during before, during and after a sleep study, therefore allowing you to have a more relaxing and pleasant stay.

Who should have a sleep study?
Some common symptoms a sleep specialist hears is: sleepiness during the day, fragmented sleep, snoring, “holding your breath” while sleeping, sweating at night, waking and feeling choked/coughing, waking up from sleep feeling worse than when you went to bed, limb     movements that keep you awake during the night, fatigue, depression, nodding off while watching TV, daydreaming, irritability, others view you as lazy, “my memory just isn’t as good anymore,” and problems completing tasks at home or school.

How do I schedule a sleep study?

A request for a sleep evaluation may be initiated by your primary care physician, or self- referral depending on what kind of insurance coverage you have obtained. You may contact one of our physician sleep specialists (link to/jump to CRMC Sleep Disorders Center Our     Physicians information) to schedule an evaluation. Some sleep disorders can be resolved after your initial physician office visit others may require an overnight sleep study. Your physician office will contact the CRMC Sleep Disorders Center for scheduling if he determines that an overnight study is necessary.  

What is a sleep study?
A polysomnography (sleep study) is a procedure used to collect information about the quality and quantity of your sleep. Electrodes are placed at various places on your head and body and send information to a computer, which collects and records the information to be     analyzed by your sleep physician. After your study is complete, the information is scored by a technician and analyzed by the physician. The final data, patients medical history and sleep history is then reviewed by the sleep specialist and a diagnosis with treatment     recommendations is made.  A final report with diagnosis and treatment, if needed, will then be forwarded to other physicians at your request.

Where will I have the study? Does my insurance specify where the test is done?

The CRMC Sleep Disorders Center is accredited by the American Academy of Sleep Medicine (AASM). We strive to provide our patients with quality care and continuously strive to meet the high expectations of the AASM. Medicare and Medicaid will pay for a sleep study if     medically necessary and ordered by your sleep physician. Blue Cross/Blue Shield (BCBS) will pay for a sleep study if medically necessary and ordered by your sleep physician and the study is performed at an accredited facility of the AASM and a participating provider in the BCBS network (the CRMC Sleep Disorders Center meets both criteria).  It is the responsibility of the patient to check with their insurance company/companies regarding coverage of sleep study benefits.

Why is a sleep study necessary?

During sleep, the body functions differently than when awake. Over the years, scientists and doctors have discovered that different sleep disorders have different characteristics. These disorders cause the body to react in different ways. By studying the data from your sleep     study, your physician will be able to determine and discuss the nature and severity of your problem.
What if I can’t sleep while at the sleep center?

Most people feel they won’t be able to sleep, however past history has shown that most people sleep very well. Some even report they have slept better in our center than at home. Even if you don’t fall asleep immediately or have difficulty remaining asleep, all data is     accumulated and forwarded to your sleep physician for interpretation. If sleep initiation or maintenance requires medication, your sleep physician will be notified for authorization, however we prefer sleep medication only be used if necessary.

How is the procedure done?
Several electrodes and sensors will be placed at various positions around your head and body. It takes about ninety (90) minutes to place the electrodes. The electrodes will measure these things:
  • Brain Waves – using electrodes placed on the head
  • Heart Rate – using electrodes placed on the chest
  • Eye Movements – using electrodes placed on the face beside the eyes
  • Muscle Tension – using electrodes placed on the chin
  • Limb Movements – using electrodes placed on the arms and legs
  • Breathing – measure by sensors attached to the skin near the nose and mouth; also placed around the chest and stomach
  • Blood Oxygen Levels – measured with a device called an oximeter, which uses a small sensor attached to the end of your finger
There is also a camera recording the procedure while you sleep and a microphone so you can communicate with the technician at any time. There are certain guidelines we must follow for your sleep physician and for insurance purposes. A specific amount of recorded sleep time is required. Therefore, after the hook-up process is complete, you will be put to bed. You will be asked to sleep on your back, if you do not do so normally. You will be asked to put your watch in your overnight bag.

Will the test hurt?
This is a painless procedure, so if something does hurt, PLEASE tell your technician. All sensors and electrodes are attached outside the body by paste or glue. There is no blood drawn for this procedure. Sometimes, the pads used in cleaning the area where the electrodes will be attached can be mildly irritating to the skin. The finger probe measuring your oxygen levels may have a warm sensation. We seldom hear a complaint of serious discomfort. We will try our best to simulate a normal night’s sleep for you; however, we realize having wired attached to you while sleeping is not normal. 

How should I prepare? What should I bring to the study?

You will receive written and verbal instructions from the CRMC Sleep Center staff. It is important for you to have the instructions with you when we call and confirm your appointment. We will review the instructions with you and also ask a few more questions for the procedure. Feel free to call us at (256) 737-2140 to confirm at your convenience.  

Sleep Study Instructions

  • If you do not drive, transportation to and from the sleep center will need to be arranged.
  • On the day of your study, DO NOT take any naps, drink any alcohol, caffeine or non-prescription drugs. This includes: Teas, sodas, coffee, over the counter medications, beer, wine, etc. Remember, no caffeine, including chocolate.
  • Eat dinner before you arrive and bring all nighttime and morning prescription medications with you.
  • Shower, shampoo hair and remove all make-up and fingernail polish. There can be no oils, gels or hairspray on your hair or lotion/oil on your skin. Deodorant is fine. At least two fingernails, one on each hand, should be trimmed to the top of the finger. Unless you have a beard or mustache, men should shave before the study. Please bring your own personal items.
  • Bring appropriate sleep attire to wear during testing. No gowns please. Pajamas, t-shirt and shorts or sleep pants are fine.
  • Diabetics – please notify the staff of any special diets or meal times before your appointment.
  • Oxygen – if you are on supplemental oxygen at home, bring your portable oxygen (O2) tank with you. Once you arrive at the sleep center, you will be placed on our oxygen.
  • Smoking and/or smokeless tobacco are prohibited
  • Friends & Family may accompany you to the sleep center, however are unable to stay during testing.
  • There is a possibility that you may be required to stay for additional testing during the day. In case this happens, you may bring snacks and reading materials, if desired. Just remember, no caffeine, please.
  • There is a possibility that you may be required to return for a second night of monitoring, depending on your results.

Are their other restrictions on what I can do during the study?
For your safety, we ask while you are connected to the electrodes and sensors, you remain in the areas designated by our staff. Smoking is not permitted within the facility, but there is a designated smoking area for use before and after testing. There is a phone available for you,     but we ask you to limit your calls to ten (10) minutes.

What is the “day” testing that my doctor mentioned?
This test is referred to as an MSLT (Multiple Sleep Latency Test). This special test is used to measure daytime tiredness/sleepiness. It always follows an overnight study and is used to diagnose sleep disorders affecting your daytime functioning. You will be given opportunities to sleep periodically throughout the day. Meals are provided during this test. You may wish to bring activities to do during specified times, i.e., magazines, books, etc. We ask you do not do anything that would cause you stress, anxiety, excitability, etc. We want as true a picture as  possible of your “normal” day.

When will I get my sleep study results?
The Technical Staff at the Sleep Center cannot give patients their sleep study results. Dr. Warner has the Sleep Center Technical Staff present his patients with a letter from Chest Medicine of Cullman which contains the preliminary results with final results given at your follow-up visit. Dr. Tafazoli’s patients receive results at your follow-up visit.

What if I need to cancel or re-schedule my sleep study?
If you need to cancel or re-schedule your sleep study during regular office hours – Monday – Thursday 8 am – 5 pm or Friday 8 am – noon you can call (256) 737-2140. If you need to cancel your sleep study after regular office hours, call Cullman Regional Medical Center at     (256) 737-2000 and ask to page the Sleep Center staff on call to cancel your sleep study.
I still have a few more questions, whom should I call?
Are staff is hear to help, if you have additional question, please contact the CRMC Sleep Disorders Center at (256) 737-2140. If we are not available, please leave your name and telephone number. Someone will return your call as soon as possible or you may call again at a later time. We encourage you to ask questions and request that you follow all instructions as you would any medical procedure ordered by your physician.