The Stanford Center for Sleep Sciences and Medicine

How to Prepare for Your Overnight Sleep Study

How to Prepare for Overnight Sleep StudyAn overnight sleep study, also called a polysomnogram, is a procedure which monitors body functions such as brain waves, heart rate, leg movements and breathing during sleep. You will be monitored by a sleep technologist all night long. There are different types of sleep studies.  Diagnostic studies are used to evaluate whether you have a sleep disorder.  A CPAP (a mask worn over the nose) study is performed to determine the ideal pressure settings.  To learn more about the different types of tests, visit the Tests and Procedures Section.

A technologist will greet you at approximately 7:00 pm in the waiting area of the lab and will show you to your bedroom. It is important that you arrive on time!  Be sure to eat before you arrive.

Once you are settled in your bedroom, you will change into your bedclothes and complete some paperwork.  Then the sleep technologist will apply electrodes and sensors which takes about an hour.  Sensor attachment will be done utilizing collodion (a glue-like substance) and medical tape.  Please prepare for this process by thoroughly washing your hair before your visit to our lab.  After the sensors are in place, you will be able to walk around the bedroom and use the restroom unassisted.

You may go to sleep at your normal bedtime within the constraints of the lab protocols.  Keep in mind, the earlier you go to bed, the more time we have to evaluate your sleep.  Some patients will use CPAP during the night.

During the night, a technologist will be available to assist you as needed.

Typically, we begin waking patients at 6 am, unless a later or earlier wake up time is desirable. Please keep in mind that the equipment takes approximately 20 minutes to remove.

There is a shower available to wash up after all of the sensors have been removed.

What to do Before Your Appointment:

In order to ensure your visit goes smoothly, please:

When to Arrive:

Please arrive at 7 PM

Cancellation Policy

If you need to cancel your overnight sleep appointment please make every effort to do so before 2 pm.  Please call (650) 723-6601, during business hours of 8 am to 5 pm.  If you call after office hours, please call the same main number, and leave a message detailing cancelation or late arrival (option #1).  The main entry is secured at 7:00 pm; lab personnel will let you into the building after this time.

What to Bring to Your Overnight Sleep Study

There are a number of key items that you should bring with you to your sleep study, including:

Where to Go:

The Stanford Sleep Medicine Center is located at 450 Broadway Street, Pavilion B, Redwood City, CA 94063. The clinic is on the 2nd floor.

Our telephone number is (650) 723-6601. Maps & Directions ».

If you have difficulty staying alert while driving please make arrangements for transportation to and from the lab.

Who Can Stay with Me?

For adults, limited family members/friends (1-2) are welcome to accompany you until your bedtime.  Guests are not permitted to stay overnight.
For children under 18 years of age, disabled, or otherwise non-independent patients, we require and allow only one parent or caregiver to stay overnight.  A recliner is available in the room for the caregiver to sleep.  Sharing the bed will interfere with the sleep study.

What About Food? 

Please eat before you arrive.  You may bring snacks and drinks for refreshments.  The cafe is closed overnight, but there are vending machines are available on the ground floor.
Meal service is only provided for patients scheduled for daytime nap testing (MSLT or MWT).  Please be sure to eat dinner prior to arrival at 7:00PM.  

How Much Will This Cost?

If you have an HMO plan, you must have your referral and authorization approved by your primary care physicians in advance of your scheduled appointment.

It is your responsibility to know your insurance coverage and benefits. Call the customer service number on your insurance card and ask for eligibility for benefits.  You will need the CPT codes below when inquiring about coverage.

Visit Type

 Charge Type

CPT Codes

Overnight Sleep Study (PSG)

a.  Technical/Facility charge



b.  Professional charge 


CPAP/Bilevel/Split Treatment

a.  Technical/Facility charge



b.  Professional charge



a.  Technical/Facility charge


b.  Professional charge


You can also visit the Stanford Hospital & Clinics Financial and Insurance Information website for additional information.

What Happens Next?

You will receive the sleep study report in the mail 2 weeks after your sleep study.  If you do not receive the report, please call (650)723-6601.
You should follow up with a doctor to discuss the results.  If a Stanford Sleep Center doctor ordered the sleep study, please call us at (650)723-6601.  Otherwise call your referring physician.

Other Frequently Asked Question About the Test Procedure

Why record all of these things?

These parameters are recorded to obtain objective information about the quality of sleep to better define your sleep problem.

How can I sleep with all of these things on me?

The body sensors are applied in a manner that will allow you to turn and move during your sleep. Generally, you will not be aware that you are wearing the devices after they have been on for a short time. The lab technical team makes the environment as comfortable as possible, within the constraints of a monitored setting.

Will the sensor devices cause discomfort?

Sometimes, in preparing the sites for sensor application, there are mild temporary irritations; please inform us if you have any known sensitivity to particular tapes or if you have a latex allergy.

Do all rooms have a double bed and private restrooms?

At the Stanford Sleep Medicine Center, we see all types of patients so our bedrooms and restrooms are arranged differently to allow for maximum flexibility to accommodate pediatric cases, bariatric patients and individuals with disabilities.  As a result, some bedrooms have double beds and some rooms have single beds.  All of the bedrooms have private restrooms and the majority include a shower.  We are unable to guarantee specific room profiles, though we do our best to make all rooms as comfortable as possible.

Can I use my own CPAP/BiPAP machine?

During a sleep study, information about your CPAP/BiPAP pressure is recorded as part of your sleep study, therefore lab machines are used. Your physician may instruct you to bring your mask and equipment to your appointment to check the pressure setting.

Can I smoke?

No smoking is allowed on the premises or anywhere on the Outpatient Campus.

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