How to Prepare for an Overnight Sleep Study

An overnight sleep study, also called a polysomnogram, is a procedure that monitors body functions such as brain waves, heart rate, leg movements and breathing during sleep. You will be monitored by a state licensed 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 for patients who are determined to have sleep apnea from their initial sleep study. To learn more about the different types of tests, visit the Tests and Procedures Section.

A sleep technologist will greet you at approximately 7:45PM in the waiting area of the lab located on the ground floor of Medical Building B. The tech will then escort you to your private bedroom. It is important to arrive on time and 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 take about an hour. Sensor attachment will be done utilizing a glue like substance and medical tape. Please prepare for this process by thoroughly washing your hair before your visit to the 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 with 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 6:00 AM, unless an earlier or later time is desirable. Please keep in mind that it takes approximately 20 minutes to remove the sensor equipment.

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

When to Arrive:

Please arrive at 7:45PM (unless instructed otherwise)

Cancellation Policy

If you need to cancel your overnight sleep study please make every effort to do so before 2PM. Please call (865) 305-8761, Option 3, during the business hours of 8:00AM and 4:30PM. If you call after office hours, please call (865) 305-6705 and leave a message detailing cancellation or late arrival.

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:

  • Appropriate bedclothes (preferably two-piece pajamas). Nightgowns and one-piece pajamas sets are not acceptable attire and nudity is not permitted.
  • If you use a CPAP/BiPAP machine bring your current mask. If you do not know your current pressure or have been instructed by your sleep physician, bring your CPAP/BiPAP machine.
  • Any medications you may routinely take or may need during the night of the study in their original medication container. Prescription and non-prescription medications are not dispensed at the Sleep Center.
  • Personal toiletries (toothpaste, toothbrush, comb, brush, shampoo, etc.) and a change of clothes for the next day. The lab provides towels and bedding (but no toiletries) and there is a bathroom and shower in each room.
  • Reading material, a DVD movie to watch or a laptop (DVD players and Wi-Fi available).
  • Please feel free to bring a special pillow or white noise device if desired.
  • Animals are not allowed unless medically authorized.

Where to Go:

The UT Sleep Lab is located at 1928 Alcoa Highway, Knoxville, TN. 37920 on the ground floor of Medical Building B. Maps & Directions 

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

You may also download a map and directions to the Sleep Center here.

Who Can Stay With Me?

Guests are not permitted to stay overnight. Exceptions can be made for children under the age of 18 and non-independent patients. In these cases, only one parent or caregiver is allowed to stay overnight.

What About Food?

Please eat before you arrive. You may bring snacks and non-caffeinated drinks for refreshments. 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 7:45PM.

How Much Will This Cost?

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

Visit Type

Charge Type

CPT Codes

Overnight Sleep Study a. Technical/Facility Charge 
b. Professional Charge 
CPAP/BiPAP/Split Treatment a. Technical/Facility Charge 
b. Professional Charge 
MSLT/MWT a. Technical/Facility Charge 
b. Professional Charge 
Home Study

a. Technical/Facility Charge 
b. Professional Charge



Other Frequently Asked Questions 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 these things on me?

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

Will the sensor device 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 full size bed and private restrooms?

At the UT Sleep Center, we see all types of patients so our bedrooms are arranged differently to allow for maximum flexibility to accommodate bariatric patients, individuals who require a care taker and individuals with disabilities. Accordingly our rooms are equipped with full size beds and can accommodate patients needing a hospital bed or a guest bed for a caretaker. All of our bedrooms have private restrooms.

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 UT Medical Center campus.



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