FAQ on Sleep Studies
Check out answers in our Sleep Studies FAQ for some of the frequently asked questions our staff hears. And feel free to call us at 847-674-3600 if you have your own questions about sleep medicine, how our center operates or treatment options.
- When should I visit a sleep specialist?
- Are sleep physicians covered by insurance?
- Do you need a referral?
- What are some of the consequences of sleep disorders if left untreated?
- Do I have to have an office visit before my sleep study?
- What does a sleep study entail?
- What if I can’t fall asleep?
- What if I have to go to the bathroom?
- What if I don’t usually sleep at night because I work second or third shift?
- What if I habitually go to bed very late or very early?
- How long do I have to be at the sleep lab?
- What should I bring?
- Does Northshore Sleep Medicine accept pediatric patients?
- What if a spouse or caregiver wants to accompany an adult patient?
1. When should I visit a sleep specialist?
It’s time to see a doctor specially trained in sleep disorders when you have had trouble sleeping for more than a month or if you are tired during the day for unknown reasons. If you have trouble falling asleep or staying asleep, it is important to have the cause evaluated in a sleep lab. You and your primary care physician should not assume that you have “insomnia”. Recent studies show that a high percentage (30-50%) of people diagnosed with insomnia actually have another sleep disorder such as obstructive sleep apnea. Also, it is very important to have your nocturnal breathing pattern evaluated before starting sleeping agents, because they may depress your respiratory drive.
2. Are sleep physicians covered by insurance?
Yes. Medicare and most private health insurance companies cover office visits, sleep studies and CPAP services. See Insurance Info for a list of insurance plans that we work with.
3. Do you need a referral?
If you have Medicare or a PPO, you do not need a referral. However, HMO’s usually require a referral. Please contact your primary care physician or pediatrician and have them initiate a referral from your insurance company.
4. What are some of the consequences of sleep disorders if left untreated?
- Daytime sleepiness and fatigue
- Cognitive impairment and poor job performance
- Anxiety, depression, memory loss and dementia, hypertension, cardiac disease, stroke, and traffic accidents.
5. Do I have to have an office visit before my sleep study?
Usually that is the best medicine. The doctor will perform an extensive review of your medical history with a special focus on sleep and she will perform a physical exam aimed at uncovering common causes of sleep disruption. He or she will evaluate you for one of the more than 80 sleep disorders that are currently known. Some sleep disorders may be treated without requiring a sleep study, while others require a sleep study to determine which disorder you may have and its severity. This visit not only insures that we are providing you with the best possible service, but it is also a requirement for the sleep center to meet the high standards of accreditation by the American Academy of Sleep Medicine.
6. What does a sleep study entail?
A sleep study is a non-invasive, painless evaluation of your sleep. Electrodes attach with paste and they monitor your brain waves, rapid eye movements, breathing patterns, respiratory efforts, oxygen levels, snoring, muscle tone and leg movements, electrocardiogram and heart rate. You are able to move from side to side.
7. What if I can’t fall asleep?
“There’s no way I can fall asleep with all that stuff on me!” The good news is that almost everyone does, it just may take you a little longer than normal. If this is a concern, please voice this to our physician during your appointment.
8. What if I have to go to the bathroom?
No problem. The electrodes are collected together to a central attachment that easily detaches to free you to get up and out of bed. Each room has its own full, private bathroom.
10. How long do I have to be at the sleep lab?
Arrival times are flexible; typically, patients arrive between 8pm and 10pm and leave between 6:00 am and 8:00 am. Patients are usually with us about 9 hours. We aim to get at least 7 hours of sleep study time.
12. Can I watch TV?
Yes. Each room has cable TV and a DVD player. There is also wireless internet if you wish to bring your laptop. You are free to use any of these electronic media as you try to acclimate yourself to this new environment. Of course, we ask that you choose a relaxing activity.
13. Does Northshore Sleep Medicine accept pediatric patients?
Yes, ages 2 and older. A sleep consultation is required prior to a sleep study unless it is a simple case of ruling out Obstructive Sleep Apnea. A parent or guardian must accompany the child and remain for the entirety of the study. We have rooms specially fitted with two beds so that the caregiver can sleep with the child. See our FAQ on Sleep Studies for Children.
14. What if a spouse or caregiver wants to accompany an adult patient?
If a patient needs 24-hour care, we ask that the caregiver stay with the patient in one of our rooms specially fitted with two beds. If a spouse wishes to accompany the patient so as not to stay home alone, arrangements can be made.