What is “the first night effect” and How Does it Affect in-lab Sleep Study Results?

Dr Kevin Goles wearing sleep study probes
As you might guess, the ‘first night effect’ refers to any changes in sleep habits which can ultimately have an adverse affect on a sleep study. These changes are generally a reflection of sleeping in a different environment or perhaps the introduction of equipment which is used to monitor sleep. The degree to which this first night effect impacts sleep study results can vary, however the thought of a sleep study causes stress and anxiety for many.  

First night effect 

The actual differences generally observed as a result of first night effect are several. Some patients actually experience total insomnia, and are unable to get to sleep at all. Others are quite restless or wake up frequently, are more anxious, and have a much less satisfying sleeping experience than they would at home. For this reason, an at home sleep test has been developed, and provides results more reflective of a patient’s general habits. 

Why sleep studies are conducted 

One of the most common reasons for a sleep study is to determine if a patient suffers from a sleep disorder, such as sleep apnea. The symptoms of sleep apnea can be very pronounced and observable. Often times the afflicted person will wake up numerous times because they are experiencing sleep disordered breathing. The airway becomes blocked during sleep, and the individual is unable to breathe, so they wake up to restore normal breathing.

Sleep Apnea Treatments

The most frequently prescribed solution for sleep apnea is a continuous positive airway pressure (CPAP) machine, which uses mild air pressure to force airways to remain open during sleep. Most CPAP machines are comprised of a mask, which fits over your nose and mouth, a tube connecting the mask to a motor, and the motor which functions to blow air into the tube.  Although a CPAP machine is prescribed most often by doctors, many patients struggle to use the machine consistently or at all.  

At the Breathing and Sleep Center, we offer solutions to treat the root cause of Sleep Apnea.  Our treatment plans are customized to each patient’s needs, with the goal of correcting the underlying conditions, improving sleep, as well as the overall health of our patients.  

We offer complimentary consultations with one of our Doctors, Educational meetings for patients and many treatment options to address your individual needs.   Contact us today to schedule your appointment. 


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