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Maintenance of Wakefulness Test (MWT)

This test measures your ability to stay awake under certain conditions for a defined period of time. Your ability to stay awake may be more important to know than how fast you fall asleep.

It is usually performed during the day following a typical nights sleep. You will have some electrodes (sticky pads) placed on your head, around the eyes and on your chin.  The information gained from the electrodes will enable us to tell if you fall asleep during this time period.

The test consists of four sleep trials timed at 2-hourly intervals.

The first trial is performed 2 to 3 hours after your normal wake time. This means that the first trial will normally start around 9 or 10am. You should eat a light breakfast at least one hour before the first trial.

During each trial you will sit quietly on the bed with your back and head supported by a pillow. You will be asked to look directly ahead and try to stay awake as long as you can. If you fall asleep you will be woken up after 90 seconds and the trial will end if you do not fall asleep within 40 minutes. In between trials you must stay awake and stay out of bed

From midnight of the day before the test, drinks containing caffeine (tea, coffee, Coca-Cola etc.), Red Bull and caffeine tablets need to be avoided.  However, you will receive full instructions of what to avoid and any other information you need with your appointment.  If you have any questions or are unclear about any of the instructions you should call the department who will be happy to clarify things for you.

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