Tests and diagnosis

By Mayo Clinic Staff

Sleep terrors are usually diagnosed by your doctor based on your description of the events. Your doctor may do a physical or psychological exam to identify conditions that may be contributing to the sleep terrors. If the diagnosis isn't clear or your doctor suspects sleep-disordered breathing, a sleep study may be recommended.

Sleep study

A sleep study (polysomnography) is a test used to diagnose underlying sleep disorders, such as obstructive sleep apnea, that may trigger sleep terrors. To participate in the polysomnography, you'll spend the night in a sleep lab.

During the test, sensors are placed on your head and body to record your brain waves, blood oxygen level, heart rate and breathing, as well as eye and leg movements. A video camera records your sleep. Your doctor will review the information to determine whether you or your child has a sleep disorder.

Aug. 12, 2014