There are so many people who come into the sleep lab with preconceived notions. I really believe that there are still not enough information out there from the techs and the successful patients that is positive. You can find many technicians and technologists who will post complaints about their night. The patients tell horror stories, I believe mostly from the lack of education provided to them or because they just do not understand the importance of the test.
The truth is that the test is not the most comfortable in that you do have to wear wires but that the test is not painful or difficult. It is easier if the patient can come in early and be set up. They can then unwind while getting used to the equipment. If they arrive at 7:30-8:00pm and they are set up and do not go to sleep until 10:00pm they have had enough time to learn how to get comfortable with the wires.
The second part is that the technician is explain the importance of the different monitors while the patient is set up. Knowledge is power and it is also comfort. If the patient understands that they cannot get tangled in the wires, that they cannot be electrocuted and that ultimately a good test will allow for a good diagnosis they will be more compliant.
Lastly you need to understand how the patient learns. I know that if I have an engineer I need to go into the science of the technology. I explain the Piezo crystal in the snore mic or the RIP technology so they can relate to it. If I have a teacher I tend to talk more about the biology and how good sleep improves grades and memory, If I have a young person I can go over some of the benefits that they will see such as the increased energy and I will also go over sleep hygiene so they have a take home.
As we move forward fighting the insurance companies for the importance of in lab studies for the appropriate person we need to stop scaring away the patients who need to be here. We have great technicians and we all have bad nights but we really need to look at how we are representing ourselves to the community at large.