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Sleep Study Frequently Asked Questions

Check out answers to some of our frequently asked questions.

For further questions on Altru's Sleep Center, call 701.780.5484, toll free 800.545.5615, ext 5484, fax 701.732.7599 or email to

Sleep Study

When should I visit a sleep specialist?

It's time to see a doctor specially trained in sleep disorders when you have had trouble sleeping for more than a month or if you are tired during the day for unknown reasons. If you have trouble falling asleep or staying asleep, it is important to have the cause evaluated in a sleep lab.

Are sleep physicians covered by insurance?

Yes. Medicare and most private health insurance companies cover office visits, sleep studies and CPAP services.

Do you need a referral?

  1. Yes, all sleep studies have to be referred by a physician or primary care provider.
  2. Generally you can call your doctor and ask him/her to fax us a referral. We would be happy to assist you by faxing our referral form to your doctor.

What are some of the consequences of sleep disorders if left untreated?

  • Daytime sleepiness and fatigue
  • Cognitive impairment and poor job performance
  • Anxiety
  • Depression
  • Memory loss and dementia
  • Hypertension
  • Cardiac disease
  • Stroke
  • Traffic accidents

Do I have to have an office visit before my sleep study?

Yes, your doctor will perform an extensive review of your medical history with a special focus on sleep. Also, an exam will be performed to uncover any common causes of sleep disruption.

What does a sleep study entail?

A sleep study is a non-invasive, painless evaluation of your sleep. Electrodes attached with paste monitor your brain waves, rapid eye movements, breathing patterns, respiratory efforts, oxygen levels, snoring, muscle tone, leg movements, electrocardiogram and heart rate.

How long do I have to be at the sleep lab?

Arrival times are flexible; typically, patients arrive between 8 p.m. and 9 p.m. and leave between 6:30 a.m. and 7 a.m. Patients are usually with us about nine hours. We aim to get at least seven hours of sleep study time. You do not need to take the next day off from work. We will work around your schedule.

What should I bring?

Pack as if you were going to a hotel. Showers are not available.

What if I can't fall asleep?

The good news is that almost everyone does, it just may take you a little longer than normal. If this is a concern, please voice this to our physician during your appointment.

Will I be given a sleeping pill?

Only if your doctor has prescribed one. Newer sleep medications have been used effectively by sleep specialists to improve sleep quality for testing purposes in the sleep laboratory and are not felt to significantly affect sleep stages or breathing. If possible, please take your evening medications prior to your arrival. If it is necessary to take them at a certain time please only bring what is needed in the original bottle and let you technician know.

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