Purpose of Review: This article provides a framework for the clinical assessment of patients with sleep-related complaints and outlines a systematic approach to a sleep-specific history and physical examination, subjective assessment tools, and diagnostic testing modalities.
Recent Findings: Physical examination findings may suggest the presence of a sleep disorder, and obstructive sleep apnea in particular, but the clinical history remains the most important element of the assessment for most sleep problems. While nocturnal polysomnography in a sleep laboratory remains the gold standard for diagnosis of sleep-disordered breathing, out-of-center testing may be considered when the clinician has a high pretest suspicion for obstructive sleep apnea and the patient has no significant cardiopulmonary, neuromuscular, or other sleep disorders.
Summary: Sleep-related symptoms are common in adult and pediatric patients. A comprehensive sleep history, physical examination with detailed evaluation of the head and neck, and judicious use of sleep-specific questionnaires guide the decision to pursue diagnostic testing. Understanding of the benefits and limitations of various diagnostic modalities is important as the spectrum of testing options increases.