Frequently Asked Questions

Helpful tips and reminders for
new and returning patients

  • Is my health worth a sleep study?
  • What are common sleep disorders?
  • Why would I need a sleep study?
  • What happens during a sleep study?
  • How to prepare for an overnight study
  • What should I bring with me to a sleep study?
Is my health worth a sleep study?

You may think that losing a few hours of sleep every night is not really a big deal, and after all, maybe you’ve been experiencing sleep loss for years. So what’s the big deal? Well, here are just a few of the potential risks for unchecked sleep disorders:

  • Excessive daytime sleepiness
  • Stress
  • Fatigue
  • Obesity
  • High blood pressure
  • Heart disease
  • Heart attack
  • Irregular heart beat
  • Diabetes
  • Increased risk of accidents
  • Morning headaches

And these are just some of the risks to your physical health. There are many consequences to your mental health and general well-being as well. These include:

  • Depression
  • Irritability
  • Anxiety
  • Mood swings
  • Difficulty concentrating
  • Cognitive impairment
  • Decreased sex drive
  • Poor work performance
What are common sleep disorders?

Over 100 specific sleep disorders have been identified and categorize based on causes, symptoms, physiological and psychological effects, and other criteria.  However, most sleep disorders can be characterized by one or more of the following four symptoms:

  • You have trouble falling or remaining asleep
  • You find it difficult to stay awake during the day
  • There are imbalances in your circadian rhythm that interfere with a healthy sleep schedule
  • You are prone to unusual behaviors that disrupt your sleep

One or more of these signs could indicate a sleep disorder.  Most people have the following common conditions;

  • Insomnia:  Consistent inability to fall asleep or stay asleep
  • Obstructive Sleep Apnea (OSA):  A sleep-related breathing disorder, OSA causes you to stop breathing for periods of time while you sleep. It is the collapse of the upper airway during sleep, interrupting airflow and reducing oxygen levels. It is severely diagnosed in Canada and those suffering from it are usually unaware that they have it.
  • Hypersomnia:  Feeling tired during the day or falling asleep at inappropriate times
  • Restless Leg Syndrome:  A strong urge to kick or move your legs, particularly when trying to relax or trying to sleep
Why would I need a sleep study?

A sleep study is commonly performed to investigate the following symptoms: Unrefreshing sleep, daytime sleepiness, breath-holding episodes during sleep, gasping or choking in your sleep, loud snoring (to find out evidence of sleep apnea), leg twitching/restless legs at night, abnormal behaviours at night (violent and non-violent behaviours).

During sleep there are changes in the brain and body. Disrupted or poor-quality sleep may affect mood changes or person has a tendency to become irritable, fatigued, unable to concentrate and often disoriented. Performance of mental and physical tasks deteriorates. Some individuals experience paranoid thoughts and auditory visual, and tactile illusions or hallucinations.

What happens during a sleep study?

During a full sleep study, the technologist will monitor your brain wave activity, leg muscle activity, chin muscle tone, eye movements, heart function, breathing patterns, and blood oxygen saturation.  All monitoring is done by attaching small metal discs called electrodes onto the surface of your skin.

How to prepare for an overnight study

There is no special preparation needed. For example, you should eat your usual evening meal before coming for the test. Be sure you have the phone number of the sleep lab so you can call us if you have any questions. It is important to maintain your typical sleep schedule in the preceding 7 days (i.e., sleeping in late on the day of the study will interfere with the results). You should also continue to take your regular medications as prescribed by your doctor.

What should I bring with me to a sleep study?

Patient must bring any required nighttime or morning medication. The Sleep Clinic is not allowed to provide or administer any medication. Patient should also bring their own toothbrush, toothpaste, sleep clinic provides pillow and all bed linen.

Patient must wear something loose or comfortable clothing as pajamas.  Patient must bring their health card as well as list of their current medications. Patient using positional therapy or CPAP/ BiPAP unit must bring their mask and headgear.

  • How are patients cared for during the night?
  • What happens after my sleep study?
  • When will my family doctor get the results?
  • Are there sleep studies during the day?
  • How much does a sleep study cost?
  • What are the benefits of an in-lab sleep test at North Toronto Sleep Centre?
How are patients cared for during the night?

A technologist will monitor your sleep on a computer in a control room (separate from the bedroom) and will always be available during the night via an audio/video system in the bedroom.  Should you require any assistance, all you need to do is call out the technologist’s name and he/she will immediately come to your room for help and/or to unplug the device that is connected to the monitoring system.

NOTE: all sleep technologists are well trained in the event of an emergency. There is a physician (sleep specialist) on call during the sleep study and will be available throughout the night in case of emergency as well.

What happens after my sleep study?

After the study, the sleep specialist will receive a preliminary morning report from the sleep technologist about your study. The recording is then analyzed for sleep, breathing events, limb movements, or other features of sleep disorders by a certified sleep technologist. The record and report are then reviewed and interpreted by the sleep specialist. Treatment recommendations will be made if evidence of a sleep disorder is diagnosed.

When will my family doctor get the results?

North Toronto Sleep Centre has a strealined process of providing your family doctor with a complete report about your sleep study within 2 to 4 weeks.

Are there sleep studies during the day?

It can be very helpful to conduct a sleep study during the day to determine daytime sleepiness. In most cases, a daytime study is almost always preceded by an overnight sleep study. The daytime study uses many of the same sensors on the scalp and face that’s used for an overnight study but may not include breathing monitoring.

There are two different daytime tests:

Multiple sleep latency test (MSLT) – This test is the most common way to measure sleepiness and is a key test in diagnosing narcolepsy. The MSLT comprises 4-5 trials or “naps” spaced throughout the day. During the test, you’re asked to relax and try to fall asleep.

There are two key data points compiled from this study –the mean sleep latency, which is the average time it took you to fall asleep for all your naps, and the number of REM periods. Whether or not REM sleep was identified is evaluated since it’s atypical for a normal sleeper to have REM sleep during such a brief sleep period. Documenting REM in two or more of the trials can be a positive indication of narcolepsy when used in combination with a clinical history.

Maintenance of wakefulness test (MWT) – The MWT is also a series of trials throughout the day, but instead of measuring your ability to fall asleep, it measures your ability to stay awake for a defined period of time under sleep-inducing circumstances.

A daytime sleep study may also benefit those who have shift work or overnight work shifts.

How much does a sleep study cost?

For Ontario residents with health coverage, a sleep study is covered by the Ontario Health Insurance Program (OHIP). All you require is a valid OHIP card.

What are the benefits of an in-lab sleep test at North Toronto Sleep Centre?
  • High quality and well maintained beds, rooms, furniture, and décor
  • Private bathroom and shower
  • A comprehensive set of sensors that will compile accurate data
  • A certified sleep technician monitors, tracks and makes adjustments in real-time from beginning to end
  • An in-lab study is proven to be much more effective and controlled compared to home sleep tests

About us

North Toronto Sleep Centre is an accredited IHF sleep diagnostic centre, overseen by the Ministry of Health and Long Term Care, also governed by the CPSO.

4040 Finch Avenue E., Suite 108,
Scarborough, ON  M1S 4V5
Tel: (416) 293-3233  |  Fax: (416) 293-0692


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