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Sleep Tests and Treatments

Johns Hopkins Medicine Sleep Centers offer an array of tests that can help practitioners diagnose sleep disorders and formulate individualized treatment plans for each patient.

Read more about sleep studies in the Johns Hopkins Health Library.
Learn more about healthy sleep habits at Johns Hopkins' Healthy Sleep portal.

Polysomnogram

To diagnose your sleep problem and provide appropriate therapy, your specialist may recommend an overnight stay at one of our sleep centers so you can get a polysomnogram. You will be given a comfortable room to sleep in while a trained and licensed sleep technologist monitors and records your brain waves, heartbeat, breathing patterns, eye movements and blood oxygen levels.

Home Sleep Apnea Test 

Sleep apnea is a common and serious disorder that affects your breathing while you sleep, and can result in bothersome snoring, severe sleep deprivation, memory issues, heart disease, stroke and other health problems. In some cases, you can test yourself for this condition and other sleep problems at home. Your care provider will send you home with one or more devices that help measure your breathing, blood oxygen level, heart rate or other data.

Continuous Positive Airway Pressure (CPAP) 

CPAP therapy provides a constant flow of air through a mask you wear over your nose and mouth while sleeping. If you have been diagnosed with obstructive sleep apnea, your doctor may recommend a CPAP, since the pressure created by the device helps you sleep through the night without pauses in breath that disturb your rest.

Titration 

CPAP and oral or dental appliances are common treatments for disorders such as obstructive sleep apnea. Titration involves an overnight study during which the technologist adjusts your CPAP or oral appliance to help you breathe. After observation, your sleep specialist may recommend adjusting the CPAP or oral appliance settings so they are more appropriate for you.

Multiple Sleep Latency Test 

This study helps your specialist assess how sleepy you are during the day by measuring how easily you fall asleep in a quiet environment. Excessive daytime sleepiness may be a sign of narcolepsy and other disorders.

The multiple sleep latency test is conducted after an overnight in-lab sleep study. The test itself takes a full day to conduct, but it is simple and painless. You will take five 20-minute nap trials, one every two hours. During the trials, you lie quietly in bed, and a series of sensors will determine how long it takes you to fall asleep and what sleep stage(s) you enter.

Maintenance of Wakefulness Test 

Like the Multiple Sleep Latency Test, this is an all-day study that is administered after you complete an overnight in-lab sleep study, either the next day or on another date. The test helps gauge your daytime alertness in a quiet environment. Reduced alertness may be a sign of a sleep disorder. During each of the four 40-minute trials -- one every two hours -- you sit quietly in bed while the sleep specialist uses sensors to determine your ability to stay awake.

Cognitive-Behavioral Therapy 

Cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT) is a form of brief psychotherapy that has extensive scientific support as an effective way to help people with insomnia, circadian rhythm disorder and difficulty adjusting to CPAP therapy for obstructive sleep apnea. The National Institutes of Health recommends CBT as a first-line treatment for insomnia and other sleep disorders.

CBT may help you learn about the factors influencing your sleep and to make specific, lasting changes to improve your well-being. The treatment process involves meeting approximately once a week with your caregiver and monitoring your behavior. You will work on daily goals to help you improve your sleep experience. You will likely see improvement in two to six sessions, depending on the causes of your sleep disturbance.

Light Therapy 

This treatment can address circadian sleep disorders -- those based on your physical, mental and behavioral responses to the 24-hour cycle of light and darkness. Therapy typically involves sitting near a special light-box each day for a time period recommended by your therapist. You can read, use a computer, converse or do other activities during your session.