Sleep Clinic

The Sleep Disorders Clinic sees referrals for adult and pediatric patients with conditions and symptoms that include:

  • Obstructive sleep apnea
  • Narcolepsy
  • Parasomnias (undesired body movements associated with sleep)
  • Periodic limb movements in sleep
  • Seizures in sleep

Formal sleep studies include:

  • Home Sleep Test (unattended sleep study performed in the comfort of your home)
  • Nocturnal Polysomnography (a non-invasive, all night monitoring of a patient’s sleep at the Knoxville Hospital & Clinics’ Sleep Lab)

For more information

Below is more detailed information about the Home Sleep Test and Polysomnography. If you have questions about the Sleep Disorders Clinic, contact Gary Woodhouse, RRT, at 641-842-1465.

Here is a short video about sleep apnea and how proper diagnosis, testing and treatment may be beneficial to you or a loved one.


Home Sleep Test

The first step to help determine if you have sleep apnea or another sleep disorder is often accomplished with a Home Sleep Test (HST). Home sleep testing is also called an “unattended sleep study.”

The costs of a HST are covered by most insurance companies. However, the patient must have sleep apnea symptoms and meet ‘medical necessity’ for a test.

A patient is ordered a HST by his or her Family Medicine provider when they suspect the individual has sleep apnea or another sleep disorder.

The necessary HST equipment is supplied by Practical Sleep Services and is available onsite at the Sleep Disorders Clinic. A technologist will provide the patient with detailed instructions on how to hook everything up and activate the recording.

HST recording devices are portable – about the size of a large cellphone.

The patient will apply the sensors to their body before sleep time and sleep with the equipment for 1-3 nights. The device will record a number of biologic parameters during your sleep, including nasal and oral airflow, respiratory effort and oxygen levels..

After the test is complete, the equipment is returned to Practical Sleep Services and the data downloaded. The test data is interpreted by the medical director of the Sleep Disorders Clinic. Once completed, a diagnostic interpretation report is sent back to the referring medical provider.

Generally, within 30-60 days following the patient’s test, an appointment is scheduled with their Family Medicine provider, who will discuss the results and treatment options.

Portable monitoring devices don’t detect all cases of sleep apnea, so your medical provider may still recommend a nocturnal polysomnography, even if your initial results are normal.



A Polysomnography or PSG is a noninvasive, diagnostic test that uses the same sensors as the HST, but also includes EEG, EKG, EMG, and other biologic measurements in a laboratory setting with sleep technician. Polysomnographies are performed at the Knoxville Hospital & Clinics’ Sleep Lab.

Preparing for the sleep study

A sleep study involves an overnight stay at the sleep lab. Our patient rooms are set up to make you as comfortable as possible so you can have a full night’s sleep.

On the day of your in-lab sleep study, you should:

  • Try to follow your regular routine as much as possible.
  • Avoid napping
  • Eliminate use of caffeine after lunch
  • Shower
  • Avoid using hair sprays or gels that can interfere with the sleep recording

If you are on a regular medication, speak with your Family Medicine provider to determine whether any medication should be temporarily discontinued.

When it is time to report for your sleep study, bring any items that you need for your nightly routine. Prepare for the sleep study as if you are staying at a hotel for a night. You may want to bring:

  • Comfortable pajamas or clothes to sleep in
  • A toothbrush, toothpaste and hair brush
  • Makeup remover
  • Reading material
  • Clean clothes for the morning

When you arrive, a sleep technologist with Practical Sleep Services will ask about your sleep habits. There may be a pre-sleep questionnaire for you to fill out.

You will have some time to make yourself at home. There will not be any other patients in your room.


Woman sleepingTesting process

When you are ready to go to bed, the sleep technologist will attach sensors to your body. The sensors, which are glued or taped to you, monitor your body while you sleep. These sensors are painless. Make sure to tell the technologist if you are allergic or sensitive to any adhesives.

The wires are long enough to let you move around and turn over in bed. At the start of the test, you will be asked to move your eyes, clench your teeth and move your legs. This will make sure that the sensors are working.

You are free to read or watch TV until your normal bedtime. When it is time for you to try to go to sleep, the lights will go off and a low-light video camera will allow the technologist to see you from a nearby room. If a sensor comes loose or you need to go to the bathroom during the night, the technologist will have to help you with the wires.

Many patients do not sleep as well as they would at home. This may be because of the sensors or the unfamiliar environment. This typically does not affect the results. Nearly everyone falls asleep during an in-lab study. In most cases, you do not need a full eight hours of sleep for the doctor to make a diagnosis. Occasionally, you may be prescribed medication to help you sleep during the in-lab sleep study.

In the morning the technologist will test and then remove the sensors. You may be asked to fill out a morning questionnaire that asks about the quality of your sleep and your experience in the sleep center. The in-lab study is complete once you are awake and the sensors have been removed.

Test results

Once the study is complete, the data is forwarded to and interpreted by the medical director of the Sleep Disorders Clinic. Once the data is interpreted, a diagnostic interpretation report is sent back to the ordering Family Medicine provider.

Hours of operation

For our patients’ convenience, sleep studies are offered Thursday, Friday and Saturday evenings. Patients usually check in at approximately 8 p.m. and leave the following morning by 5 or 6 a.m.


The Knoxville Hospital & Clinics is accredited by Accreditation Commission for Health Care (ACHC) for compliance with a comprehensive set of national standards. By choosing a healthcare provider that has achieved ACHC accreditation, you can take comfort in knowing that you will receive the highest quality of care. If you have any concerns about the product or service that you received from the Knoxville Hospital & Clinics, you may contact ACHC directly at (855) 937-2242.