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​Sleep Lab

Please Note: All registrations for the Sleep Lab take place in the Imaging Department.
From the Main Entrance follow the Blue Navigation Line.


Referral Instruction

Download Sleep Study Requisition.pdf

Generally you will be booked for your sleep study within 4-6 weeks of your referral. It is very important that you keep your appointment, as a cancellation will cause a further 2-3 month delay before re-scheduling is possible. Currently, the Sleep Disorders Lab at RVH runs six beds 7 nights a week. Appointment times are booked for 8:00, or 8:30 p.m.

If you must cancel a sleep study please phone
705-739-5604 between 9:00 a.m. - 4:30 p.m. or
705-728-9090 Ext. 46238 (after hours) so that a replacement can be found. We ask that you give 48 hours notice when possible (A charge may apply to appointments cancelled without sufficient notice).

  • Phone: 705-728-9090 Ext. 46238

  • Bookings: 705-739-5604

  • Fax:  705-739-5651

  • Emergency or cancellations:
    705-728-9090 Ext. 46238

Manager: Kim McAllister 705 728-9090 Ext. 47650

Location: The Sleep Lab is located on
level 3. Please register at Imaging Services on level 2 before your appointment. 

From the Main Entrance, Follow the Blue Navigation Line to the Central (Green) Elevators. Take the elevators to level 3.
From the elevator turn left.

Appointments are available within 2 weeks. Call the Booking department for openings.  


Why do I need a sleep study?

  •   Unrefreshing sleep
  •   Daytime sleepiness
  •   Breath-holding (apnea) episodes during sleep
  •   Loud snoring
  •   Leg twitching/restless legs at night
  •   Abnormal behaviors at night (violent and non-violent behaviors in sleep)


Patient Paperwork 

If you have been contacted for an appointment but have misplaced your paperwork and instructions, click on the links below to print out your paper work:

Patient Package.pdf

If this is your first sleep study: Sleep Clinic Questionnaire.pdf

If you are currently using CPAP: CPAP Follow-Up Questionnaire.pdf


On the day of your sleep study:
  Avoid caffeine (coffee, tea, cola, and chocolate) after 3:00 p.m.
  Try not to nap during the day
  We ask men to shave if they do not have a beard or moustache
  Women who usually shave their legs, may do so, as there will be electrodes placed on the lower leg near the shinbone
  Women should also remove their nail varnish, make-up and avoid excess hairspray
  All patients are asked to shower and shampoo their hair prior to coming to the lab
  We try to avoid shaving men's chests for electrode placement to measure heart rate (EKG), but it is sometimes necessary to shave a small area for electrode placement.

What to Bring

  Any required nighttime or morning medications with you (staff are not able to dispense any medications)
  An overnight bag including pajamas and your own pillow
  Your healthcard
  A list of your current medications
  If you have a CPAP/BiPAP unit, make sure to bring your mask, hose and headgear
  Shampoo and soap to shower to remove the paste from your hair/scalp after your test

If you have special needs, please advise the sleep disorders clerical staff at 705-739-5604 so that lab staff can accommodate you.

Upon Arrival

Once you have arrived at the lab, a sleep technologist will meet and register you, then show you around the lab, and your bedroom. Each person is assigned their own room to sleep in. You will have time to change and get ready for bed. The technologist will begin applying the electrodes, and he/she may ask you some questions pertaining to your sleep or the equipment that will be used during the night.

You should inform the technologist of any changes in your sleep or specific difficulties that you might not have already discussed with your doctor. If you have a commitment in the morning (i.e., you have to be at work at a certain time), be sure to inform the sleep technologist prior to your study, so that a suitable wake-up time can be arranged.

All patients should be in bed no later than midnight, unless prior arrangements have been made (i.e., for shiftworkers). Generally the study ends between 5:30 a.m. - 6:00 a.m.

An intercom is located beside your bed so you can contact lab staff during the night. A technologist will monitor the machines in an adjoining room and is available at all times during the night should you require assistance. In case of an emergency, there is a sleep physician on call.


The wires (electrodes) that are attached to your head measure your brain wave activity and determine if you are awake or asleep. Once you fall asleep, we can measure what stage of sleep you are in. Electrodes are also placed by your eyes to measure eye movement. Again, certain stages of sleep have specific associated eye movements. Electrodes are placed on your chin to measure muscle tone, and on your legs to measure limb movements. A sensor is taped to your neck to measure for snoring and placed by your nose and mouth to measure how much you breathe in and out. The majority of these electrodes are taped to the skin using hypoallergenic tape and those on the scalp and beards are kept in place using a water-soluble paste.

Flexible, stretchy belts are placed around your chest and abdomen in order to monitor your breathing. The level of oxygen in you blood and your heart rate are monitored by a device which clips onto your finger.      

Most patients have no trouble sleeping sleeping in the Sleep Lab despite wearing the recording equipment. The electrodes are gathered together in a kind of "ponytail" behind your head so that you will be able to roll over, change positions, and get up to use the bathroom.

Please inform the sleep technologist upon arrival at the sleep laboratory if you have any allergies to certain tape or to latex.

For more information: Video Tour of a Sleep Study

After the Sleep Study     

After the study, you will complete a questionnaire regarding how well you slept before going home. Your recording is "staged" for sleep by examining the 6-7 hours of the recording in 30second windows and is scored for breathing events, limb movements, or other features of sleep disorders by a sleep technologist. The record and report is then reviewed and interpreted by the sleep physician. Treatment recommendations will be made if evidence of a sleep disorder is found. The sleep physician may recomment you have another test in the sleep lab if additional procedures are needed to establish a diagnosis or evaluate a treatment. You will have a follow-up with your family physician to receive your results.
Note: This process can take up to 4-6 weeks to complete.

Obstructive Sleep Apnea (OSA)

OSA is characterized by repetitive episodes of upper airway obstruction that occur during sleep, usually associated with a reduction in blood oxygen saturation (or an arousal). Patients often complain of excessive daytime sleepiness or daytime fatigue. Along with the frequent episodes of obstructed breathing that occur during sleep, there may be loud snoring, morning headaches and a dry mouth upon awakening. Most of the patient's we see are referred for snoring and/or suspected OSA.
Video: What is Obstructive Sleep Apnea?


The noisy sounds of snoring occur when there is an obstruction to the free flow of air through the passages at the back of the mouth and nose. This area is the collapsible part of the airway where the tongue and upper throat meet the soft palate and uvula. Snoring occurs when these structures strike each other and vibrate during breathing. Forty-five percent of normal adults snore at least occasionally, and 25 percent are habitual snorers. Problem snoring is more frequent in males and overweight persons, and it usually grows worse with age.

People who snore may suffer from:

  • Poor muscle tone in the tongue and throat. When muscles are too relaxed, either from alcohol or medication that cause sleepiness, the tongue falls backwards into the airway or the throat muscles draw in from the sides into the airway. This can also happen during deep sleep.

  • Excessive bulkiness of throat tissue. Children with large tonsils and adenoids often snore. Overweight people have bulky neck tissue, too. Cysts or tumors can also cause bulk, but they are rare.

  • Long soft palate and/or uvula. A long palate narrows the opening from the nose into the throat. As it dangles, it acts as a noisy flutter valve during relaxed breathing. A long uvula makes matters even worse.

  • Obstructed nasal airways. A stuffy or blocked nose requires extra effort to pull air through it. This creates an exaggerated vacuum in the throat, and pulls together the floppy tissues of the throat, and snoring results. So, snoring often occurs only during the hay fever season or with a cold or sinus infection. Also, deformities of the nose or nasal septum, such as a deviated septum (a deformity of the wall that separates one nostril from the other) can cause such an obstruction.

Is Snoring Serious?

Socially, yes! It can be, when it makes the snorer an object of ridicule and causes others sleepless nights and resentfulness.

Medically, yes! It disturbs sleeping patterns and deprives the snorer of appropriate rest. When snoring is severe, it can cause serious, long-term health problems, including obstructive sleep apnea.

Video: The Dangers of Snoring & How to Take Action


If you are found to have breathing problems, the technologist may connect you to a machine that helps you breathe. This machine is called a continuous positive airway pressure machine (CPAP). In the sleep lab, for a therapeutic study, you will be fitted with a mask that fits comfortably over your nose and is attached to the CPAP machine, which is on a bedside cabinet. This machine is connected to a remote control unit and the computers collecting your sleep data. While you sleep, the technologist will gradually adjust your pressure to a level that will prevent the closing of your airway.


For more information please visit The Canadian Sleep Society