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Maintenance of Wakefulness Test

Measuring Ability to Stay Awake

The Maintenance of Wakefulness Test (MWT) measures how alert someone is during the day and shows a person’s ability to stay awake during a defined period of time. The purpose of this test is to assess the effectiveness of a patient’s treatment plan for their sleep disorder. It also has safety purposes, as it can determine if a patient can perform long drives or other daily tasks without feeling too tired.

The MWT can be recommended for patients who are responding positively to their treatment plan. Multiple tests may need to be performed over time to ensure consistency. These tests are critical for patients with jobs involving public safety, such as truck driving and public transportation.

How It Works

During the test, you will be placed in a room that blocks out all sunlight. A dim light will be placed behind the room’s bed. You will have four sleep trials during the test, with two-hour breaks in between each session. The test should begin no more than three hours after you normally wake up.

Noninvasive sensors will be placed on your head, face, and chin, similar to what was applied during your initial sleep test. These sensors record vital signs that will allow our sleep specialists to monitor your rest. During the trial, you will sit in your bed in a comfortable position. All you have to do is try to remain awake for as long as possible. You cannot do anything to keep yourself awake, this includes pinching the skin or slapping your face. If you do fall asleep, you will be awakened after 90 seconds. The test will end if you do not fall asleep for 40 minutes.

The Results

Once the test is concluded, our sleep specialists will need two weeks to analyze the results. They will forward their findings with your doctor, who will contact you to discuss them. Depending on the results, your treatment plan may stay the same or be readjusted for effectiveness.

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