Sleep Study for Sleep Related Problems

Where to go for a Sleep Study?

Comprehensive Sleep Care Center has the area’s top sleep medicine specialists with 10 convenient locations in Virginia and Maryland (Alexandria, ArlingtonBethesdaChantillyDumfries, Fredericksburg, GermantownLansdowneManassas and Woodbridge). We are a full-service sleep health center, providing sleep medicine consultations, diagnostic testing, and treatment services for more than 80 types of sleep disorders, including insomnia, sleep apnea, and narcolepsy in both children and adults.

In Lab Sleep Study

What is a Sleep Study?

A Polysomnogram (PSG), also called an In Lab Sleep Study, is an overnight test used to measures how well a person sleeps. It determines whether they may have any sleep related problems or disorders, as well as how severe any sleep disorders may be. In addition to helping diagnose sleep disorders, a sleep study may be used to help adjust your treatment plan if you’ve already been diagnosed with a sleep disorder.

Your doctor may recommend a sleep study / Polysomnogram if they suspect you have:

  • Sleep Apnea or another sleep-related breathing disorder. Sleep Apnea is a condition where your breathing repeatedly stops and starts during sleep.
  • Periodic Limb Movement Disorder. In this sleep disorder, you involuntarily flex and extend your legs while sleeping. This condition is sometimes associated with Restless Legs Syndrome.
  • Narcolepsy. You experience overwhelming daytime drowsiness and sudden attacks of sleep during the day.
  • REM Sleep Behavior Disorder. This sleep disorder involves acting out dreams as you sleep.
  • Unusual Behaviors During Sleep. Your doctor may perform a sleep study if you do unusual activities during sleep, such as walking, moving around a lot, or rhythmic movements.
  • Unexplained Chronic InsomniaIf you consistently have trouble falling asleep or staying asleep, your doctor may recommend a sleep study.

No matter what issues you are having, a sleep study can assist your physician in making a diagnosis and help get you started on a treatment program to help you get a more restful sleep.

What Happens During a Sleep Study?

Upon your arrival for your sleep study, you will be greeted by a Registered Polysomnographic Technologist (RPSGT) who will be administering your sleep study. They will meet you in the waiting area and escort you to your private room. The room where the sleep study is done is similar to a hotel room—it’s dark and quiet during the test. We want our patients to be able to relax and fall asleep. Your technician will go over your paperwork, have you fill out any necessary forms, and review with you what the sleep study will entail.

This will normally include:

  • Wires with small electrodes attached to your scalp with a conductive gel/paste to measure brain activity. This lets the technician know if you are sleeping, and what stage of sleep you are in. Don’t worry, the placing of the sensors is pain free; however, it may take a bit to get used to. After the sensors are in place, you will be able to walk around the bedroom and use the restroom unassisted.
  • Electrodes are taped to your face near the eyes and chin to show muscle activity. These electrodes are used to measure eye movements, which give clues to sleep stages, as well as chin movements which can indicate possible nocturnal teeth grinding as well as other sleep disorders related to muscle activity.
  • Two elastic belts go around your chest and stomach to measure breathing effort.
  • A nasal cannula (clear plastic tubing) and small heart monitor measure all breathing activity.
  • An electrode and wire on each leg measure body movement/muscle activity.
  • A monitor taped to your finger detects oxygen levels during the study.
  • Two to three lead EKG monitors show heart rate and rhythm.
  • A small mic applied to your throat detects snoring.
  • A CPAP or BiPAP may be used. Your sleep technologist will talk with you about using this equipment before the study begins.

Once you have been hooked up, the RSPGT will begin monitoring the data from another room. They will communicate with you via an intercom system and run through a series of tests to calibrate the equipment.

You may go to sleep at your normal bedtime within the constraints of our sleep center protocols. Keep in mind, the earlier you go to bed, the more time we have to evaluate your sleep patterns. During the night, our sleep technologist will be available to assist you as needed. They may need to enter your room during the night should one of your sensors loosen during your sleep. If possible, we attempt to do this without waking you up or disrupting your sleep.

After the Sleep Study:

Your technologist will begin waking you at 5:00 am and remove the sensors and equipment. This can take about 20 minutes.

The RSPGT will not be able to review or share your results with you. The information is sent to your doctor or a sleep specialist for evaluation. You should follow up with your doctor to get the results in 7-10 days.

On the Night of Your Sleep Study:

As we have several locations, please be aware and make note of the CSCC sleep center and suite number where your study is scheduled. Please make note of the entrance instructions located in your CSCC patient forms packet. You can also find the patient forms on under the Plan Your Visit tab.

On the night of the sleep study, you will be asked to report to the sleep laboratory between 9:00 pm and 9:45 pm, depending on your appointment time. The Respiratory Technologist will greet you in our waiting area and escort you to your room.


  • On the day of the sleep study, make sure that your hair is clean, dry, and free of oils, gels, hair spray, and other products. Please remove any hair extensions or wigs. The scalp must be accessible, or we will be unable to do the study.
  • You will have sensors with gel/paste, and possibly tape, placed on your head, chin, around your eyes, legs, chest, and finger, to record sleep activity during your sleep study.
  • Avoid napping on the day of the study.
  • Eat your regular evening meal before you arrive for your sleep study.
  • Avoid alcohol, stimulants, and caffeinated beverages (coffee, tea, and cola) for 24 hours before the study.
  • Wear comfortable clothing to sleep in.
  • We recommend you bring your favorite pillow and/or blanket to make you more comfortable.
  • Bring your regularly scheduled medications and plan to take them as you normally would unless your physician instructs otherwise.
  • Bring reading materials, laptop, or other activities to occupy your free time. (Wi-Fi is available.)
  • If you are under 18 years of age, a parent or guardian is required to stay with you for the entire duration of testing. Most rooms have an overstuffed recliner that is very comfortable for sleeping.
  • Notify us if you require special assistance. You may be required to have a caregiver present during testing.
  • If you are using positive airway pressure therapy (CPAP), bring your mask and headgear. If you have an oral appliance and are having a follow-up sleep study, please bring your oral appliance, adjustment key and/or bands.
  • Bring toiletries and a change of clothing. We provide towels to wash up in the morning.
  • If you’d like to bring a healthy snack for the evening or morning, or if you have special dietary needs (e.g., gluten free), please bring snacks with you.
  • Service dogs trained to assist people with medical disabilities are allowed with prior authorization by our physician.

Sleep Study Cancellation Policy:

If you need to cancel or reschedule your overnight sleep study appointment, please cancel 72 hours prior to the day of your sleep study. Please call 703-729-3420 during our business hours of 8:00 am to 5:30. If you call after office hours, please call the same main number and leave a message detailing your cancellation.

Because we schedule our technologists in advance for your sleep study and reserve a room, a fee of $150 will be charged for cancellations within 72 hours of your scheduled sleep study appointment.

Sleep Study at Comprehensive Sleep Care Center

If you have any additional questions regarding your sleep study, please give us a call at 703-729-3420 and we will be happy to assist you. Thank you for choosing Comprehensive Sleep Care Center for your sleep health needs; it is our pleasure to be a partner in your care! We are the areas top sleep medicine team with 10 convenient locations in Virginia and Maryland (Alexandria, ArlingtonBethesdaChantillyDumfries, Fredericksburg, GermantownLansdowneManassas and Woodbridge).