About 22 million Americans have been diagnosed with obstructive sleep apnea. OSA is a serious sleep disorder which should be diagnosed on time and treated appropriately.
To determine whether a person has obstructive sleep apnea, they have to undergo a sleep study. There are two types of sleep tests which are used to determine whether a person has sleep apnea and if they have, how severe is the condition.
One type is a Polysomnography (PSG), also called an in-house sleep test, which is conducted in a laboratory. The other type of sleep study is at-home sleep test. Both tests come with plenty of advantages. Which test you’re going to undertake depends on your preference and your sleep medicine provider will recommend one.
Nevertheless, the preferred sleep study for many individuals is the home sleep testing. However, you might experience some possible issues with this type of sleep study. Hence, we decided to list all possible issues with home sleep testing and how you can avoid them.
What is a Home Sleep Testing?
Home sleep testing is an exceptional way to diagnose sleep disorders, including obstructive sleep apnea, insomnia, restless legs syndrome, narcolepsy, REM sleep behavior disorder, and sleep walking. The home sleep study is extremely beneficial for people who are uncomfortable sleeping in new places or ready to have their sleeping routine interrupted. Hence the home sleep study is performed in the comfort of your home with the necessary equipment.
Your sleep specialist or provider gives you the equipment, which includes sensors that register the apnea events. After performing the study at home, a physician or sleep specialist will review the results and give you a diagnosis.
Benefits of Home Sleep Testing
As we mentioned before, home sleep testing is especially convenient for people who don’t feel like sleeping in new environments is best for them, let alone knowing that they are being watched in the next room. So, here are some of the benefits this type of sleep study offers:
- Comfort: Meaning you will sleep in your own bed and follow your typical night time routine. You will be given all the necessary instructions on how to use the equipment in order to get the best results.
- Easy scheduling: You won’t have to wait for other patients to finish. Instead, you can perform the test wherever you want.
- A perfect option for severe cases of OSA: If you show symptoms of severe OSA, your doctor will recommend a home sleep study as soon as possible. This is especially important as patients with severe OSA find it extremely difficult to sleep in new places.
- Budget-friendly: Home sleep testing is budget-friendly and it is often more affordable for patients than the cost of a PSG.
Possible Issues with Home Sleep Testing
These are all possible issues you might encounter when performing home sleep testing:
- They monitor only breathing and oxygen levels. The reason this is a possible issue is that not every sleep disorder causes breathing interruption.
- These tests don’t rule out sleep apnea. They are more tests to detect the severity of the condition rather than its presence.
- Home sleep tests aren’t recommended if you have mild to moderate sleep apnea.
- You won’t be able to get a diagnosis of other medical conditions, such as congestive heart failure and COPD.
- Home sleep testing can’t detect whether you’re awake or asleep as they only monitor breathing and oxygen levels. This means that they can even detect events which happen while you’re awake.
- Many human errors are possible to happen, such as incorrectly placed sensors, or the sensors can fall during sleep. Having the sensors correctly places is crucial for the success of your results.
How to Avoid These Possible Issues
There are several tips which are worth knowing if you want to have a successful and accurate home sleep study.
Hence, you should share all the symptoms you experience with your medical provider who will determine whether home sleep testing is the right option for you. You should also be familiar with everything regarding home sleep testing and strictly follow the instructions provided to you for using the equipment.
Additionally, ask your sleep partner to help you conduct the test more successfully. They can help you place the sensors in the right places and check you throughout the night, whether the sensors are in the right place and whether the device is working.
Note that you shouldn’t use any body sprays, hair sprays, or gels the day before you conduct the sleep study as they can erode the gel on the sensors. Moreover, you should avoid consuming alcohol or caffeine as they interrupt your sleep patterns.
Last but not least, don’t change your bedtime routine because of this test. Instead, stick to it and make sure you don’t interrupt the test.
Luckily for you, these days many home sleep test devices are designed to beep when something is wrong or when the sensors fall off. Hence, you’ll be able to avoid all possible issues and perform a successful study.