CPAP Clinic Sleep Blog

Understanding your sleep health, sleep apnea and CPAP therapy

What are the varying Sleep Study options and differences?

What are the varying Sleep Study options and differences?


Level 1 Sleep Study

This test is known as the diagnostic polysomnography test (i.e. the gold standard in sleep testing). The overnight polysomnogram (PSG) determines the cause of excessive daytime sleepiness and diagnoses sleep disorders. Example are sleep apnea and periodic limb movements during slumber. When someone is doing this sleep test, it will involve: spending a night in a single bedroom in a sleep laboratory with one or more sleep technologists overseeing the test.

A qualified sleep technologist monitors

  • brain waves (EEG)
  • heart rhythms (EKG)
  • breathing patterns
  • oxygen levels
  • limb movements.


What happens during a Level 1 sleep study?

The entire monotoring session is accomplished with small metal discs called electrodes onto the surface of the skin. This means the technologist attaches electrodes using removable cream/gel and tape. The electrodes will not pierce the skin.

On the bed a person lays supine and falls asleep. There is a control area, outside of the sleeping area, where the technologist monitors the procedure.

The technologist will have two or three patients to look after per night. In most cases, there will be private rooms with a bathroom in or out of the room. Using the washroom during the night is managed by calling for the technologist who will disconnect the person from the recording equipment. Cameras are also likely to be used to observe sleep.

During a full sleep study, the staff will monitor all (but it not limited to )

  • the sleeper’s brain wave activity
  • leg muscle activity
  • chin muscle tone
  • eye muscle movement
  • heart function
  • breathing patterns
  • blood oxygen saturation.


Level 3 Sleep Study (in-home portable sleep monitoring)

A Level 3 Sleep Test is smaller version of the laboratory and is a portable sleep test performed in the patient’s home. This test is primarily designed to screen out moderate uncomplicated sleep apnea.

And it is not a diagnosing mechanism for other sleep disorders as it is incomplete from the broad technology housed inside a sleep lab.

Sometimes the testing device is sent to a patiet’s home, delivered and setup or picked up by the client. The closest sleep lab to you will determine is this is an option for you or not. The accuracy of this option is still being studied.

This has been a quick overview of sleep studies and how and where they are operated. Talk to your general practioner about your options for a sleep test.

Look for the follow up post to this one, which details the Five types of Sleep Tests.


Call 1.877.430.2727 for help.

Edited by Bill Bistak B Sc.,SEO/SEM Spc, CRT

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