Do I Need a Referral for a Sleep Study?
If you have been experiencing some of the signs and symptoms of sleep problems such as difficulty sleeping, daytime fatigue, snoring or night sweats, it is possible that you may benefit from a sleep study. But do you need a referral from your primary care physician to get one?
What is a Sleep Study?
A sleep study or polysomnogram is an overnight exam which provides information about your sleep behaviors in order to identify and diagnose sleep-related disorders such as sleep apnea, narcolepsy, or periodic limb movement disorder. It also helps to determine if there are any other underlying medical issues that may be causing disruptions to your sleep.
Do I Need a Referral?
The short answer is yes, you need a referral from your primary care physician in order to get a sleep study. If you have been experiencing symptoms of a disorder and have been to your doctor’s office about it, then your doctor should be able to refer you for a sleep study.
In some cases, you may also be able to get a referral directly from a sleep physician. If you’ve been having difficulty sleeping for more than three months and do not have a primary care physician, a sleep specialist may be able to refer you for a study.
What Should I Expect from the Referral Process?
Once your primary care physician has referred you for a sleep study, they will provide you with information about the address, location and time of the study, as well as instructions on what to bring with you to the evaluation.
Your doctor will also likely provide you with a list of questions or instructions that you will need to follow closely in order to prepare for the study.
What if I Do Not Have a Referral?
If you do not have a referral from your primary care physician, you may be able to make an appointment with a sleep specialist if you are experiencing significant symptoms of a disorder that may require further evaluation. However, this is not the same as a sleep study and the specialist may not be able to provide you with the necessary recommendations for a study without a referral.
You may also be able to get a referral from an online physician, such as an online sleep clinic. However, these physicians may not be as knowledgeable about sleep studies as your primary care physician.
If you are experiencing significant sleep-related symptoms, it is may be beneficial for you to undergo a sleep study. While you may be able to get a referral from a specialized sleep physician or an online physician, your primary care physician is likely to be the best source of information and will be able to provide you with the necessary instructions and advice on how to prepare for the study.