3. Subjective and Objective Sleep Testing

  1. Douglas B. Kirsch MD, FAASM3,4
  1. Martha E. Billings MD1 and
  2. Nathaniel F. Watson MD, MS2

Published Online: 11 OCT 2013

DOI: 10.1002/9781118764152.ch3

Sleep Medicine in Neurology

Sleep Medicine in Neurology

How to Cite

Billings, M. E. and Watson, N. F. (2013) Subjective and Objective Sleep Testing, in Sleep Medicine in Neurology (ed D. B. Kirsch), John Wiley & Sons, Oxford. doi: 10.1002/9781118764152.ch3

Editor Information

  1. 3

    Harvard Medical School, Boston, MA, USA

  2. 4

    Division of Sleep Neurology, Department of Neurology, Brigham and Women's Hospital, Boston, MA, USA

Author Information

  1. 1

    Department of Medicine, Division of Pulmonary Critical Care, University of Washington, UW Medicine Sleep Center, Harborview Medical Center, USA

  2. 2

    Department of Neurology, University of Washington, UW Medicine Sleep Center, Harborview Medical Center, USA

Publication History

  1. Published Online: 11 OCT 2013
  2. Published Print: 7 OCT 2013

ISBN Information

Print ISBN: 9781444335514

Online ISBN: 9781118764152



  • sleep quality


This chapter describes the more commonly used subjective assessments to evaluate sleepiness, obstructive sleep apnea (OSA) risk, insomnia presence and severity, and restless legs syndrome (RLS). The chapter also describes measures used to evaluate quality of life in sleep disorders and sleep quality. It explains the most common objective sleep tests including polysomnography (PSG), the multiple sleep latency test (MSLT), the maintenance of wakefulness test (MWT), actigraphy, and the suggested immobilization test (SIT). These tests are typically performed in a sleep laboratory and interpreted by a sleep specialist. The subjective and objective tests should be selected as appropriate for each patient to ensure correct and complete therapy for their sleep disorder. Subjective testing may allow for routine, rapid screening of high-risk populations and repeat evaluation of patient-reported outcomes. Objective testing is more resource and time intensive, but is often necessary for precise diagnosis and treatment.