The (Bend, Ore) Bulletin profiles the role of sleep technologists, explaining who they are and what they do.

Although the doctor is the one who interprets test results and slaps on a diagnosis, sleep technologists are the ones who actually perform the sleep study. They painstakingly apply each electrode and watch monitors throughout the night (or during the day, if the patient works at night). That’s no small task; sleep studies at St. Charles last an average of eight hours, and a minimum of six.

“We want to make sure that the patient goes through enough sleep stages so we can really know what’s going on,” said Espinoza, who no longer performs the sleep studies himself and instead oversees St. Charles’ 10 other sleep technologists.

Espinoza said he views his role as being an extension of the physician. Once the study is complete, the night sleep technologist prepares the report and hands it over to the day sleep technologist, who checks it over to make sure nothing was missed before it goes to the physician. Only a physician who is board-certified in sleep medicine can interpret a sleep study.