Your doctor may make an evaluation based on your signs and symptoms or may refer you to a sleep specialist in a sleep disorder center.
A sleep specialist can help you decide on your need for further evaluation. Such an evaluation often involves overnight monitoring of your breathing and other body functions during a sleep study called polysomnography.
During polysomnography, you're connected to equipment that monitors your heart, lung and brain activity, breathing patterns, arm and leg movements, and blood oxygen levels while you sleep. You may have a full-night or split-night sleep study.
In a split-night sleep study, you'll be monitored during the first half of the night. If you're diagnosed with obstructive sleep apnea, staff may wake you and give you continuous positive airway pressure for the second half of the night.
Polysomnography can help your doctor diagnose central sleep apnea. It also can help your doctor rule out other sleep disorders, such as periodic limb movements of sleep or narcolepsy, which can cause excessive daytime sleepiness but require different treatment.
Doctors trained in nervous system diseases (neurologists), heart diseases (cardiologists) and others may be involved in evaluating your condition. Doctors may order imaging of your head or heart.