Do I Need A Sleep Test

A sleep disorder test provides an in-depth analysis to help physicians identify, diagnose and treat medical conditions and sleep disorders that interfere with a good night’s sleep. Depending on your symptoms, doctors may use a sleep apnea test, or insomnia studies and narcolepsy exams, to make an accurate diagnosis.

Sleep Disorder Symptoms

If you have trouble either falling or staying asleep, which can result in chronic sleepiness, you should speak with your doctor about participating in a sleep study. If you are constantly drowsy, despite getting a sufficient number of hours of sleep, your sleep habits may need further examination.

Although doctors can often diagnose schedule irregularities, bad pre-sleep habits or stress-related issues that prevent restful sleep at a general appointment, they may require sleep test data to fully understand and treat the problem. You may benefit from a sleep disorder test if you:

  • Experience snoring, gasping or choking when you sleep
  • Experience tingling or crawling leg sensations when sleeping
  • Fall asleep within five minutes during a daytime nap
  • Feel like you can’t move when you wake up
  • Need caffeine to stay awake during the day
  • Need over 30 minutes to fall asleep at night
  • Wake up during the night and can’t fall back asleep
  • Wake up too early in the morning.

In addition, speak with your doctor if you frequently doze off suddenly and unexpectedly with both loss of muscle movement and hallucination-like dreams.

What Data Can a Sleep Test Provide?

A sleep disorder test can reveal if you suffer from breathing-related problems that may block your airways and affect your ability to sleep well. A sleep apnea study, for example, involves either a polysomnogram or a home-based portable monitor to determine if a breathing disorder is the cause of heavy snoring, gasping, pauses in breathing or choking noises during sleep.

Insomnia studies, often conducted with the use of either a polysomnogram or actigraphy, can help to determine the cause of an inability to fall or stay asleep.

People who suddenly fall asleep with no control of their muscles, coupled with exceptionally vivid dreamlike experiences, may suffer from narcolepsy. A polysomnogram or a multiple sleep latency test (MSLT) can help to diagnose narcolepsy.


Mayo Clinic. (2009). Insomnia. Retrieved December 22, 2010, from

Mayo Clinic. (2010). Sleep apnea.Retrieved December 22, 2010, from

National Heart Lung and Blood Institute. (2010). Sleep studies: What do sleep studies show? Retrieved December 20, 2010, from

National Heart Lung and Blood Institute. (2010). Sleep studies: Who needs a sleep study? Retrieved December 20, 2010, from