Sleep Studies

Millions of people have sleep disorders and don’t know it, or don’t know there is help available. If you do not feel refreshed in the morning, visit with your health care provider. If you have one of the following symptoms, you may have a sleep disorder:

  • Fatigue
  • Irritability
  • Depression
  • Reduced attention concentration
  • Workplace mishaps or car accidents
  • Trouble doing work or other daily tasks

If left untreated, sleep disorders can lead to heart attack, stroke, car accidents and problems at home and work.

Discuss your sleeping behavior with your doctor. It may be helpful if you bring your sleeping partner with you to describe your snoring and sleep behavior. If other problems are ruled out, your doctor may refer you to Winneshiek Medical Center’s Sleep Lab. There you will spend a night while a technologist monitors your sleep behavior to determine if you have a sleep disorder.

Our services are provided by Mayo Clinic sleep technologists who will come to WinnMed to perform your study.

Home Sleep Studies

If your doctor determines you meet criteria, you may be able to take a sleep study at home.

WinnMed’s home sleep study equipment allows patients to perform a sleep study at home rather than spending the night at the medical center.  This option is more convenient for patients and reflects your true sleep patterns because you are tested in a familiar environment – your home.  The equipment is easy to use and convenient for patients any day of the week.

Most insurances cover home sleep studies, and the WinnMed Respiratory Therapy team will work with your insurance company for pre-authorization of the service.  As soon as we get clearance from insurance, we can schedule your study – most of the time within the week. Members of the Respiratory Therapy team teach you how to set up the equipment, and when you are at home and ready to turn in for the night, just follow the three simple steps for the study.  The next day, return the equipment to WinnMed.  A Mayo Clinic sleep specialist reads the test and sends the results to your primary care doctor.

Follow up

After your sleep study, it is very important that you discuss your test results with your doctor. Your sleep study report will be available to your doctor within one week of your test. The follow up may take place over the phone or at the office, depending on your doctor’s preferences. Individual treatment options will be based on the results from your sleep study.

In-Facility Sleep Studies

Some sleep studies take place at WinnMed.


When you arrive for your scheduled sleep study, please enter through the Emergency Room Entrance. Staff will escort you to the Sleep Lab. Once in the Sleep Lab, you will be asked to provide insurance information and your completed Sleep Questionnaire. Your doctor will give this to you before your sleep study.  You will then be asked to change into your sleeping clothes before you are taken to the preparation area.

Sleep Rooms

You will have your own private room where a Mayo Clinic sleep technologist will monitor you by computer and video from a separate control room. A private bathroom and shower are easily accessible for your use during testing. Following preparation for the sleep study, you will be taken to your room to sleep.


Sensors will be carefully attached to the outside of your body with special paste or tape so you will be able to move and turn as usual while you sleep.  Though the sensors do not hurt, your skin may be sensitive when they are removed in the morning.

Small electrodes will be attached to your scalp and face, and belts applied to your chest and legs. These electrodes will monitor your brain waves (EEG), heart rate (EKG), eye movement and muscle activity. This information helps identify various abnormalities that may be affecting your sleep. Small sensors will also be taped near your nose and mouth and two belts will be placed around your chest and abdomen to monitor your breathing. Your oxygen level will be monitored with a small finger sensor.

Some patients worry they will be unable to sleep well with all of these sensors in place. Most patients are able to sleep enough for the sleep technologist to obtain the information they need to diagnose a sleep disorder. If you are concerned about sleeping well in the sleep lab, you may ask your doctor for a sleep aide prescription prior coming in for your sleep study.

If you are being evaluated for sleep apnea, the sleep technologist will also size you for a CPAP mask.

In the morning, the sleep technologist will wake you, remove all sensors and ask about your night of sleep. Testing is generally done by 7 am.

Follow up

After your sleep study, it is very important that you discuss your test results with your doctor. Your sleep study report will be available to your doctor within one week of your test. The follow up may take place over the phone or at the office, depending on your doctor’s preferences. Individual treatment options will be based on the results from your sleep study.

Sleep Apnea

A common sign of sleep apnea is loud snoring followed by a breathless pause and ending with a snort or gasp. Other signs include restless movements, high blood pressure, impotence, morning headache, problems with memory and concentration, and extreme tiredness or sleepiness.

Risks of Sleep Apnea

Health risks of sleep apnea include irregular heartbeat, high blood pressure, heart disease and stroke. In addition, daytime sleepiness can cause lost productivity, crashes and other incidents.

Treatment of Sleep Apnea

  • CPAP: continuous positive airway pressure is delivered through a mask attached over the nose and/or mouth to keep the airway open. This prevents apnea and frequent awakenings.
  • Weight Loss: even a small loss may make a difference in airway obstruction and reduce CPAP requirements.
  • Dental Appliances: used to keep the tongue from obstructing the airway during sleep by moving the jaw forward.
  • Implant: implantable pulse generator detects the patient’s breathing pattern and maintains an open airway with mild nerve stimulation.
  • Medication: used to stimulate breathing in Central Sleep Apnea.
  • Surgery: performed to widen the airway or create an opening in the windpipe.

Screening for Sleep Apnea

Your provider may want to screen you for your risk of having obstructive sleep apnea. The Respiratory Therapy department may set you up with a monitor for your to take home wear while you sleep to help your provider determine if a sleep study should be pursued.

Test Types

The device is capable of recording flow and snores via a nasal cannula attached to a pressure transducer, a respiratory effort belt that attaches to your chest, a pulse oximeter to measure pulse and oxygen saturation that attaches to your finger. When the device is downloaded it will provide your AHI (Apnea Hypopnea Index) which is the average number of times you stop breathing each hour you sleep.

Overnight Oximeter
The device is used to monitor the amount of oxygen in your blood and your heart rate during a night of rest. This will also determine the need to start, continue, or increase home oxygen therapy for your respiratory condition.

Sleep Tips

  1. Get up at the same time every day of the week. This strengthens the body’s natural cycle and leads to regular sleep patterns.
  2. Daily exercise may deepen sleep, although occasional exercise does not necessarily improve your sleep.
  3. Insulate your bedroom against sounds.
  4. Keep the bedroom temperature moderate. An excessively warm room disturbs sleep.
  5. Hunger may disturb sleep; a light snack at bedtime may help.
  6. Avoid excessive liquids in the evening to prevent awakening to urinate.
  7. An occasional sleeping pill may help sleep. However, chronic use of these is ineffective for most insomniacs.
  8. Avoid caffeine in the evening. Caffeine can disturb sleep even when people do not realize it.
  9. Avoid alcohol in the evening. Alcohol helps tense people fall asleep easier, but the sleep following is fragmented.
  10. Chronic use of tobacco disturbs sleep and should be avoided.
  11.  If you feel angry or frustrated because you can’t sleep, do not try harder to fall asleep. Instead, leave the bedroom and read a book or magazine. Do not do any stimulating activity. Return to bed when you are sleepy. Get up at your regular time no matter how little you’ve slept.

If you continue to have trouble sleeping after trying these tips for several weeks, contact the Sleep Lab at WinnMed.

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