Ask the Sleep Team: What is it Like to Spend the Night in a Sleep Lab?


My doctor wants me to have a sleep test done and is sending me to a sleep lab. I’m not sure what to expect–I’ve heard really different things from people who have done it. What is it really like to spend the night in a sleep lab?

Sleep Team’s Answer:

Your experience with a sleep lab can vary a lot, depending on the lab and how easy it is for you to sleep in unfamiliar places. Some people find the experience relatively uneventful, but many do not enjoy it at all. It can be really difficult to sleep in an unfamiliar room, connected to many machines, and while being observed by a sleep crew. Unfortunately this means that, sometimes, the patient does not actually sleep long enough during the night to get conclusive results for the study and may have to repeat the process all over again. Home sleep testing can be a great option for diagnosing sleep apnea, and in straight-forward cases with no other suspected complications, it is just as effective as a sleep lab. Let’s take a look at some examples:


In this first video, we can see an example of the rare sleep lab that has been set up to be comfortable, home-like, and peaceful. If you’re lucky enough to be assigned to a sleep lab like this, your experience might be a bit more relaxing:


In the next clip, you can hear one patient share her own personal experience of a night in a sleep lab. She went into the experience expecting something similar to the first video, but found her assigned sleep lab (like many sleep labs) wasn’t much like it at all. Like many patients, her discomfort and nervousness prevented her from sleeping very much, and she worries that she didn’t sleep long enough to get conclusive results.

If you suspect that you or a loved one may have sleep apnea, or if you have already been diagnosed and want to know more about alternative treatments to CPAP therapy, reach out today to a local oral appliance therapy provider. Click here to find a provider near you! And please take a moment to share this post with friends and loved ones. You never know whose life you might be saving.