The Maintenance of Wakefulness Test (MWT) is used to measure how alert you are during the day. It shows whether or not you are able to stay awake for a defined period of time. This is an indicator of how well you are able to function and remain alert in quiet times of inactivity.
The test is based on the idea that your ability to stay awake may be more important to know in some cases than how fast you fall asleep. This is the case when the MWT is used to see how well a sleep disorders patient is able to stay awake after starting treatment. It is also used to help judge whether a patient is too tired to drive or perform other daily tasks.
The test isolates you from outside factors that can influence your ability to fall asleep. These factors include such things as the following:
Temperature (too hot or too cold)
The MWT is used to see if someone with a sleep disorder is responding well to treatment. Results of multiple tests may be compared over a period of time. This can show if treatment is helping a patient overcome sleepiness.
The MWT may be used to evaluate how well a person with a sleep disorder is able to stay awake. This is critical when the person’s job involves public transportation or safety.
The results of the test will be only one factor used to assess the potential risk of a work-related accident.