How Do I Prepare for a Night in a Sleep Lab?

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  • Written By: Jacob Queen
  • Edited By: Lauren Fritsky
  • Last Modified Date: 05 October 2018
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If you’re having sleeping difficulties and you find that you need the assistance of a sleep lab, there are a few things you can do to prepare yourself for the experience. For starters, you’ll want to maintain a normal sleeping routine leading into the session so that it will be easier for you to go to sleep once you arrive. Secondly, you’ll generally need to avoid any stimulants that might interfere with your normal sleeping processes, including substances containing caffeine. Remember to bring any necessary items such as medications with you to the lab, and remember that most labs will require you to come in with a clean face so that sensors can be attached to your skin.

When going to a sleep lab, ideally, you will get a normal night's sleep for several days before your session; most labs recommend that patients avoid doing any napping if possible. You may have some trouble going to sleep in the unfamiliar environment at the lab, and according to experts, anything that might add an additional hindrance should generally be avoided. If you normally drink a lot of coffee or other caffeinated beverages, you’ll usually be asked to curb that or even stop completely right before your session.


At the sleep lab, normally, the staff will need to hook several sensors to the skin on your head and face to monitor electrical brain activity and other physical readings while you sleep. These don’t work very well when people have makeup on their skin, and for this reason, you will probably be asked to come to the location without any cosmetics. Some labs may even ask men to shave their beards, and most generally prefer that men come in clean-shaven even if they don’t make it mandatory.

Don’t forget to bring anything that you need, including clothing that you feel comfortable sleeping in, and things like blood pressure medication that are important for your health. Some labs will even allow you to bring comforting items like pillows if you think they will help you sleep. Generally speaking, you want to make the environment in the lab feel as normal and natural as possible so that you go to sleep without any major difficulty, giving the workers at the lab a good opportunity to monitor you.



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