This test is used to determine your level of sleepiness during the day and is often used to determine if you have Narcolepsy or other causes of daytime sleepiness. For most patients, you will have a sleep study done in our lab the night before. You will typically be awakened at 6:00 a.m. in preparation for the MSLT. The Multiple Sleep Latency Test (MSLT) consists of four or five nap opportunities which will start at approximately 8:00 a.m., 10:00 a.m., Noon., 2:00 p.m. and 4:00 p.m. The naps sessions will be 20-35 minutes in duration, after which the technician will awaken you (if you fell asleep). In order for the test to be valid, you MUST stay awake during the period between naps.

Before the MSLT

  • Avoid caffeine and alcohol for 1 day prior to the testing.
  • Take a shower and wash your hair the day before. Do not apply skin lotions, sprays, or oils to your hair.
  • You will be spending the day at the lab. If you have a special diet, you may wish to bring food with you. Otherwise, the lab will be giving you a light morning snack and lunch.
  • Beverages containing caffeine (i.e., coffee, tea, cola) may invalidate the test; we therefore ask that you refrain from drinking these on the day of the test. We also ask that you refrain from stimulants such as chocolate or other sweets. You may not take any stimulants on the day of the test: such as caffeine, amphetamines, diet pills, Adderall, Dexedrine (Dextroamphetamine), Ritilin (Methylphenidate), Concerta, Cylert (Pemoline) or Provigil (Modafinil). Your physician may also want you to avoid certain antidepressants for a few days prior to testing.
  • You should complete a log of your sleep for 1 week prior to the test. The sleep log should be brought to the lab and given to the technician.

What to bring for the test

  • Bring what will make you comfortable such as a robe, slippers, and personal hygiene items (toothbrush, toothpaste, comb, brush, etc) If you desire, you may bring your own pillow.
  • Bring comfortable clothing for the day.
  • You should bring any medications that you usually take and you should take your usual medications on the day of the study, except for those items listed above.
  • You should bring with you a list of your medical problems and a list of any medications that you take.
  • Don’t forget to bring the completed sleep logs..

What to expect during the test

Before each nap, you will answer a questionnaire rating your alertness from a scale of 1 (Wide Awake) to 7 (Almost in Reverie).

The bedroom is kept quiet and dark, at a comfortable temperature. There will not be a clock and you will be asked to remove your watch. Your will wear regular clothes during the nap studies. You should not smoke for at least 30 minutes prior to each nap. You will be instructed to lay in bed, wearing your normal street clothes (you should not wear a night gown or pajamas). You should relax and allow yourself to fall asleep. Each nap opportunity will last for 20 minutes (if you do not fall asleep) and up to 35 minutes (if you do fall asleep).

The technician will attach small sensors on your head and body with tape and cream. Other sensors from the prior night sleep study will be removed. The sensors will be plugged into a machine that will monitor your sleep. There will be sensors on your head, around the eyes, and under the chin to monitor your sleep and whether you are getting into deep sleep, and sensors on your chest to measure your EKG (heart beat). The technologist will stay in a nearby room monitoring these items on a computer, and will be available to re-attach any sensors if they come loose. If you need to use the restroom, the sensors can be easily unplugged. There is an intercom system so you can talk to the technologist, if needed.

After each nap session, you be instructed to get out of bed. You will complete a questionnaire that asks you if you slept, how long, and whether or not you dreamed. You are to stay awake and will not be allowed to lay in bed between naps. A light breakfast and Lunch will be provided to you at the sleep lab’s expense.

After the MSLT

Immediately after the MSLT, you should go home and take a long hot shower. The adhesives that are used to attach the monitoring wires to your head are very sticky and are hard to get out without a hot shower.

Getting your results

The data collected from the study will be analyzed by another technologist and a physician. The results of the testing will usually be sent to your physician within a week. You should contact your physician for a follow up appointment to discuss the test results and treatment options.

Other concerns

If you have any questions at any time about this procedure, please feel free to notify our scheduling coordinator at 404-705-0855 or any of the sleep technologists and they will be more than happy to assist you. If you need directions to the facilities, please see the directions page or call for more information:

Scheduling coordinator (8:30 am-5:00 pm): 404-705-0855
Dunwoody sleep lab (8:30 pm-6:00 am): 404-255-4968
Alpharetta sleep lab (8:30 pm-6:00 am): 770-360-5999