Snoring & OSA

Preparing for a Sleep Study: Tips to Help You Get the Most Out of It

February 28, 2023
tips to help you prepare for a sleep study

A polysomnography, also referred to as a sleep study, is a diagnostic test that allows doctors to determine if you have sleep disorders like sleep apnea, periodic limb movement disorder, or narcolepsy among others. 

Many such disorders cannot be diagnosed through a typical consultation and sleep studies are non-invasive overnight procedures which allow your doctor to monitor you while you sleep. Usually conducted in a sleep clinic in Singapore, patients will be connected to an electroencephalogram (EEG) which records brain activity to identify potential problems. During a sleep study, other measurements such as heart rate, eye movements, and oxygen levels, may also be measured.

Some patients may find the prospect of a sleep study intimidating. However it is an important and perfectly safe diagnostic exam that can identify potentially fatal medical issues. Patients who are well-prepared for their visit may feel less anxiety, more confident, and have a higher chance of receiving meaningful results. Here are some helpful tips to follow in the days leading up to a sleep study.

Learn More: 5 Signs You Need to Have a Sleep Study Performed

Patient talking to a sleep specialist


     1) Discuss With Your Doctor About Medication

This is a piece of advice that applies to many different medical procedures. You should always discuss with your doctor and notify them about your current medication regimen. Certain drugs (e.g. sleeping pills, antidepressants and anti anxiety medications) can interfere with the test results and your doctor should be informed beforehand. 

Additionally, in some cases, you may even be prescribed drugs to help you sleep more comfortably. Any medication you are already taking may interfere with these drugs with adverse effects. So for your own safety do let your sleep specialist in Singapore know about any medication you are on.

     2) Avoid Caffeine And Alcohol

Caffeine and alcohol both contain substances that disrupt normal sleep patterns. As much as possible, avoid caffeine in the afternoon and evening of your sleep study for optimal results. Alcohol should also similarly be avoided, unless you’re a habitual drinker and in danger of going through withdrawal. In such cases, it’s best to talk to your doctor about how to move ahead with the procedure.

Woman sleeping during the day-sleep clinic singapore

     3) Don’t Have Daytime Naps

Daytime naps can also make it harder to fall asleep at a sleep clinic so they are best avoided. In some cases, sleep studies occur during the day and may involve monitoring you during a nap. If so, then discuss with your doctor beforehand about the pre-test procedures.

     4) Keep To Your Regular Routine

Most people are creatures of habit and it can be useful to follow your regular routine without disruption when undergoing a sleep study. This can make patients feel more at ease and the sense of familiarity might help them get to sleep quicker. This can involve bringing your usual bedtime essentials like pyjamas, books, or pillows. If the sleep study subject is a child, then ensuring they have their favourite stuffed animal or blanket can allow them to feel more comfortable during the examination.

     5) Avoid Using Hair Gels, Sprays, Or Body Lotions

Some products like sprays, hair gels, and lotions can interfere with the metal electrodes used by the EEG machines. It’s best to avoid all of these items before a sleep study. If you feel like it’s absolutely necessary for you to use these items, then it’s best to have a discussion with your sleep specialist. They are best positioned to give you advice about this.

     6) Clear Up Doubts

If you have any questions or concerns that have not been covered in this article, feel free to clarify with your doctor. Even if you think it may not be medically relevant, it’s always best to check with a professional. If you are feeling nervous, you can ask your doctor to take you through the procedure and explain the various steps to help put your mind at ease.

The information from a sleep study can be crucial towards diagnosing and treating sleep conditions. Many such conditions can severely affect your quality of life so it is in your interest to attend a sleep study and do your utmost to ensure it runs as smoothly as possible. Many of these tips are easily doable but can have a big impact on the success of the sleep study.

An experienced and accredited ENT Specialist, Dr Gan practises evidence-based medicine with a focus on patient-centric care. Contact us today to find out more about our services and set up an appointment with our team.

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    Dr Gan Eng Cern

    Dr Gan Eng Cern is a distinguished ENT doctor with fellowship training. In addition to his clinical practice as an ear, nose and throat specialist in Singapore, Dr. Gan has contributed to the academic field as a Senior Clinical Lecturer at the Yong Loo Lin School of Medicine, National University of Singapore. He is recognised for his extensive research work, with numerous contributions to reputable international ENT journals. Dr Gan is also highly sought after as a speaker and has shared his surgical knowledge as a surgical dissection teacher at various prominent ENT conferences and courses.


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    • 2012 – Human Manpower Development Award (Ministry of Health, Singapore)
    • 2007 – Singhealth Best Doctor Award


    • MBBS – Bachelor of Science, Bachelor of Medicine, Bachelor of Surgery (University of New South Wales, Sydney, Australia)
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