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Maintenance of Wakefulness Test (MWT) at UPMC in South Central Pa.

The maintenance of wakefulness test (MWT) measures how alert you are during the day and is used to determine how well you are responding to treatment for your sleep disorder. The MWT also measures whether you are too tired to drive, work or perform other daily tasks.

Typically, you will be asked to arrive at 8 a.m. and stay until approximately 6 p.m. If your physician has also ordered an all-night sleep study, you may be able to schedule your MWT immediately afterward.

What To Bring

  • Insurance cards
  • Photo identification
  • A list of all medications you are taking (if you need a medication while in the center bring the medication in original prescription bottle for self-medication)
  • Reading materials, such as books or magazines
  • Other items, such as crossword puzzles, knitting, paperwork, etc.

How To Prepare

To ensure that your test is as accurate as possible, we ask that you wash and dry your hair thoroughly and refrain from using any hair products before you arrive at the sleep center. Please dress comfortably.

You may eat normally before your MWT, but do not consume any caffeine, such as soda, coffee or tea. You may continue to take all medications normally unless you have been instructed otherwise. Also, it is important that you get six to seven hours of sleep the night before your MWT.

What To Expect

  • When you arrive for your MWT, you will be greeted by a polysomnography technician. He or she will show you to your room, explain your test and answer any questions you may have.
  • After you are comfortable, your technician will attach l wires, called electrodes, to different parts of your body. The electrodes, which will be connected to a computer, will help your technician monitor different elements of your body's activity, including:
  • Heart rate
  • Oxygen levels
  • Brainwave activity

You will have a number of trials throughout the day, during which you will be asked to sit in bed while remaining quiet and still. Then, you simply try to stay awake for as long as you can. Between your trials, you will have lots of free time. Lunch will be provided for you.

The information collected from your study will be sent to a Sleep Specialist for interpretation and recommendation. This report will be sent to your referring physician, this may take seven to 10 days. Follow up for results will take place between you and your referring physician.

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