Preparing For A Sleep Study

Before you take part in a sleep study, you may need to follow some sleep study preparation steps, such as limiting alcohol, caffeine and tobacco usage before the study, as well as taking notes in a sleep log or sleep journal prior to the test.

Keeping a Sleep Journal

Your doctor may ask you to keep a sleep log for several days and nights to get a better picture of your overall sleep habits. In addition to recording the times that you go to bed at night and wake up in the morning, other information you need to record in a sleep journal includes:

  • Any alcohol or caffeine consumption
  • Before-bed activities, such as watching TV or reading
  • Daytime naps
  • Exercise habits
  • How long it takes you to fall asleep
  • How often you wake up in the night
  • How you feel in the morning
  • Medication taken.

Other Sleep Study Preparation Tips

If you are going to participate in a nocturnal polysomnogram, you will need to limit, if not stop completely, your use of alcohol, caffeine and tobacco about 24 hours prior to their test. In addition, consult with your doctor about medications you take to ensure that they don’t act as stimulants that might interfere with the study. Eat your regular evening meal before arriving for the test so hunger doesn’t affect your ability to sleep.

If you are participating in a daytime maintenance of wakefulness test (MWT) or a multiple latency sleep test (MSLT), try to get a good night’s sleep the night before. Eat normally before arriving at the sleep study center and avoid alcohol, caffeine, tobacco and any physical exertion the day of the test. Consult with your doctor about any medications you regularly take.

What to Bring to the Sleep Study Center

Depending on the type of test and the time of day, you may need to bring the following items with you to the sleep study center:

  • Books/magazines(for daytime tests)
  • Change of clothes
  • Pajamas
  • Sleep journal/sleep log
  • Toiletries.


Marymount Hospital. (2010). Sleep study: What to expect. Retrieved December 20, 2010, from

National Heart Lung and Blood Institute. (2010). Sleep studies: What to expect before a sleep study. Retrieved December 20, 2010, from