Home Sleep Testing: What It Is and How It Works

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Home Sleep Testing: What It Is and How It Works
source: hopkinsmedicine.org

Do you experience excessive daytime sleepiness or maybe wake up with a headache or dry mouth? Obstructive sleep apnea could be the culprit. It is a serious sleep disorder that causes disrupted breathing throughout the night, preventing you from enjoying the deep, restful sleep phase. If you have sleep apnea symptoms, your doctor may order home sleep testing the Bronx to confirm the suspected presence of troubled breathing. Below is a simple description of at-home sleep testing.

What is an at-home sleep apnea test?

A home sleep apnea test is a simple way to establish whether you have breathing difficulties. It functions as an alternative to traditional sleep studies, which require you to stay overnight at a sleep center under the observation of a specialist. For this test, wear a device that tracks your breathing, oxygen levels, and breathing effort. Unfortunately, unlike traditional sleep studies, a home sleep test does not fully capture what is monitored during an overnight sleep study.

Traditional sleep studies involve a more thorough assessment of sleep issues. They are attended by a sleep technologist who captures other signals, including muscle tone, brainwave for sleep, and leg movements. An overnight sleep study may be the best option for individuals with heart, breathing, or neuromuscular problems.

How does a home sleep test work?

A home sleep study varies depending on who orders or administers it. But generally, the process involves consulting a healthcare provider, receiving equipment, conducting the test at home, and meeting with your provider to discuss the results.

1. Meet with your doctor.

Like any other new symptom, you want to make an appointment with your physician if you are experiencing sleep apnea symptoms or another sleep disorder. Consider bringing a sleep diary; a record of your sleeping habits may help diagnose. If your doctor suspects you have sleep apnea, they will refer you to a sleep specialist.

2. Meet with your specialist.

Expect more detailed questions during the meeting with a sleep specialist. If you have any concerns about home sleep apnea testing, this is when you can bring them up. For example, your specialist can help you understand how a home test compares to polysomnography in terms of convenience, accuracy, and cost. Your specialist will order home sleep testing once they establish that it is appropriate for you.

3. Obtain test equipment

The next step is to obtain your home sleep apnea test equipment. You may receive a call or need to contact a sleep lab or clinic to obtain the necessary equipment. The staff at the sleep clinic will offer guidance on how to use each device.

4. Carry out the test

Once you have learned how to use each device, you can conduct the test. It is vital to follow the instructions as you put on sensors like a nasal cannula, pulse oximeter, or band. You want to sleep and wake up at normal times and avoid anything that can affect your sleep, including caffeine. If you are on sleep medications, ask your doctor if you can take them during the night of the test. Unless you have a disposable test, you should return your equipment to the location predetermined by your healthcare provider.

5. Discuss the results

Your specialist will analyze the collected data and discuss the results with you. After diagnosis, your specialist may prescribe continuous positive airway pressure (CPAP) treatment. Alternatively, results may be negative or inconclusive, so you may need to undergo an in-lab sleep study.

If you have sleep apnea symptoms, consult your healthcare provider at NY Metro Sleep to know how you can benefit from an at-home sleep study.