At-home sleep apnea testing is an easy, cost-effective way to figure out whether you're having trouble breathing and have sleep apnea. A home sleep apnea test is a very simplified breathing monitor that tracks your breathing, oxygen levels, and breathing effort while worn.Read More
How Do You Test for Sleep Apnea?
Because sleep is so critical for your health, there are many ways to get sleep apnea tests. A lab sleep study can monitor your sleep by tracking brain waves, blood oxygen level, heart activity and more. You might also try a home sleep study, where you're given specific instructions from sleep specialists to complete during a normal night of sleep.
How Does A Home Sleep Test Work
Obstructive sleep apnea is caused by repeated collapse of the upper airway during sleep. The condition causes poor sleep quality and low oxygen levels.
Doctors can prescribe an at-home sleep test to anyone who is at moderate or high risk for obstructive sleep apnea. This includes people who snore loudly, are overweight, have high blood pressure, and drink alcohol or take sleeping pills.
Previously, sleep apnea could only be diagnosed with a polysomnography, a test that is performed overnight in a sleep lab—a hospital space that is usually designed to be as comfortable as a hotel room. Multiple sensors are connected to a patient’s body to monitor brain and muscle activity, heart rate, breathing effort, and other metrics. Polysomnography is still used to diagnose different types of sleep disorders and is necessary to confirm mild sleep apnea or rule it out completely.
The device is very easy to use: a nasal cannula is worn to measure flow, one small sensor is attached to the patient’s finger and another is affixed to your chest to measure heartrate and oxygen saturation and identify how many breathing interruptions are experienced in a night. You wear the device for 1 night for about 5 hours. Once the device has collected enough data, a green checkmark light will appear indicating that the test has been completed.
How Can You Get Accurate Results From an At-Home Test?
To get accurate results, follow your sleep expert's instructions carefully. This includes maintaining a normal body position when you attempt to sleep and wearing the equipment in the right positions on your finger and chest. An accurate sleep study can take from 1-5 hours, so you need to simulate your normal sleeping conditions as well as possible. This helps determine what treatment, if any, may be most beneficial.