Home Sleep Studies 101

Home Sleep Studies 101

Have you ever asked yourself what`s the main reason for your poor quality sleep? Studies show that some brain and heart-related conditions might be the reason for disrupted sleep quality. If you want to gain a better understanding of the normal sleep patterns you had better do a sleep study.

Doing a sleep study will help you determine the way you breathe at night, and it will also provide data important for addressing any issues using various therapies or sleep apnea equipment. Doctors use home sleep studies to gain more insight into their patients normal sleep patterns and thus find ways to help them have better sleep quality and wake up refreshed and full of energy. They also take into account what kind of test your insurance covers and what kind of test you would prefer.

Home sleep tests are an effective and inexpensive alternative compared to a traditional overnight sleep study. Once you are prescribed a sleep study, you should consider whether you would like to use an at-home sleep study or go through a clinic or a lab.

Pros of a Home Sleep Study

Access to Care for Those in Rural Areas

Home sleep studies provide many patient`s in rural areas a more convenient option. These studies are used as an effective alternative by neurologists who work in clinics not equipped with in-office sleep studies. In such conditions, it is easier for a neurologist to screen patient`s for sleep apnea problems when they perform a home sleep study.

Improved Timeliness of Study Results

Due to the growing interest in sleep apnea, the number of requests and thus wait times for polysomnography (PSG) have also increased. Clinics cannot handle this increased volume of PSG requests, and thus results cannot be immediately acted on or discussed with a doctor. In contrast, home sleep tests provide quicker results and offer alternative OSA testing modality which has proven to be accurate, convenient, and inexpensive.

More Cost-effective

Studies done in an office setting can cost between 600$ to 5000$. Opposed to studies done in a lab, home sleep studies not only are more comfortable being performed in familiar surroundings, but they are also less expensive, costing as little as 125$.

You May Be More Likely to Complete a Home Sleep Study

Being available anytime, home sleep studies are fit into any schedule. These studies remove scheduling conflicts and allow more people with obstructive sleep apnea to seek the treatment they need.

How Does a Home Sleep Study Work?

Home sleep studies are a simplified version of lab sleep studies. To perform a home sleep study, you will need a home sleep study kit that contains different sensors and a breathing monitor that tracks your breathing effort, oxygen levels, and records data through the night. Once the home sleep study is performed, the data is sent to a sleep lab for analyses. Having the results your primary care provider can discuss a diagnosis with you.

Usually, a home sleep study kit contains:

  • Electrodes for the chest
  • Chest belt to evaluate breathing and sleep position
  • A nasal cannula. This is a mask similar to the oxygen mask and is used to measure airflow.
  • An oxygen sensor probe placed over the patient`s finger

How to Prepare for a Home Sleep Study?

Home sleep studies are more reliable compared to lab sleep studies because patient`s sleeping in a familiar environment fall asleep faster, feel more comfortable, have a better transition into REM sleep and all this ensures more accurate results.

You shouldn’t drink alcohol, have a siesta, or consume caffeine on the day you decide to perform the test. Before sleep, try to relax and then set up the home sleep test device.

Follow these steps:

  • Attach the recorder across your upper chest and then fasten the belt
  • Put the nasal cannula into your nostrils and then secure it with a loop around your ears
  • Attach a finger pule sensor to the ring finger on your non-dominant hand
  • Finally, press “start” on the recorder device, and when you wake up in the morning press stop. Sometimes tests require two nights to ensure more accurate results

Why you Should Consider a Sleep Study?

Sleep studies help to diagnose many sleep disorders, and in case you are still not sure whether you should perform a sleep study, additional risk factors associated with sleep disturbances and insomnia are enlisted below:

  • Stroke risks
  • Dementia risk
  • Headaches

Restless leg syndrome or narcolepsy