What Happens At The Sleep Lab

What is the sleep assessment process?


Your General Practitioner (GP) or specialist will forward a referral to us. When this referral is received, a letter will be sent to you to acknowledge the receipt of the referral.

Assessment and Consultation

Once an appointment becomes available you will be notified. This appointment will either be for a sleep study or physician review depending on what your GP or specialist has requested in the referral letter. Often patients will have a sleep study first with a follow up appointment in our clinic to discuss the results.

If you are diagnosed with obstructive sleep apnoea, you may have a further treatment study and then referred for CPAP (Continuous Positive Airway Pressure) therapy. For provision of CPAP machines, Veterans or Health Care Card holders will be referred to our CPAP nurses at the Repatriation General Hospital while others (non-Veterans and those without Health Care Cards) will be referred to private CPAP outlets to purchase or rent their CPAP machines.

Waiting Times

Currently the waiting time for a public patient appointment at the RGH is approximately 4 months. We have provisions for urgent appointments, subject to discussion with your referring GP or specialist. If you are referred for an overnight sleep study by an external specialist, the waiting time is approximately 3 weeks.

Private patients attending the Ashford Hospital will have minimal waiting times of approximately 2-3 weeks.


Assessment of your sleep patterns can be done via several different methods:

Polysomnography (PSG): This test monitors sleep and breathing patterns overnight using simultaneous recordings of brain wave activity (EEG), eye movements, muscle tone and breathing movements.

Sleep studies are performed on adults and 12-18 year old children. The same type of measurements and application of sensors (non-invasive) are used for both adults and children.

Patient Information Sheet (AISH): Polysomnography

More information about sleep studies performed on adults and children can be found on the Facilities and Services and Ashford Sleep Service pages.

Multiple Sleep Latency Test (MSLT): The MSLT is a series of 4-6 nap opportunities (5 naps are performed in our laboratory) presented at 2 hour intervals. The test is used to index a patient’s sleepiness and to identify abnormal REM sleep tendencies.

Patient Information Sheet: Multiple Sleep Latency Test

Maintenance Wakefulness Test (MWT): This test is designed to measure a patient’s ability to stay awake in conditions in which sleepy patients have difficulty maintaining wakefulness. Unlike the MSLT in which the patient is instructed to allow themselves to fall asleep, during a MWT the patient is instructed to attempt to remain awake.

Patient Information Sheet: Maintenance of Wakefulness Test


Your treatment options will be discussed at your follow-up appointment. Some of these may require further visits to the laboratory:

CPAP Titration Study: Continuous Positive Airway Pressure (CPAP) is the main treatment for obstructive sleep apnoea. It is a pump which uses a gentle stream of air to splint open the airway at night. Depending on the case an overnight study may be conducted at the laboratory or in the home to determine the most effective setting for the machine to alleviate symptoms of apnoea.

Patient Information Sheet: Continuous Positive Airway Pressure

Insomnia Treatment Program: This program utilises non-drug approaches to treating insomnia. It takes clients through an intensive 5 week treatment program with reviews to monitor progress. Read more about the Insomnia Treatment Program.