Do you think you may have sleep apnea?
If you are like most people, the idea of getting tested in an overnight sleep lab can feel intimidating. Luckily, advancements in technology have developed alternatives to in-lab sleep studies. In this article, we will look at home sleep studies and how you can prepare for one.
Benefits of an At-Home Sleep Study
There are numerous benefits to conducting a home sleep study, and in our recent post “Will Home Sleep Studies Replace Clinical Sleep Studies?“ we covered all of them.
A few of the main benefits are that at home sleep studies are so darn convenient since testing takes place in the home rather than in a sterile medical facility. The cost is usually lower too.
If you have decided to go through with an at home sleep study, below are a few tips to make sure you have effectively completed the test results.
Step One: The Day Before Your Home Sleep Study
If you are on regular medication, speak with your board-certified physician. They may recommend that you temporarily discontinue medication just to ensure your results won’t be impacted.
It’s also probably a good idea to get everything set up and ready to go the night before.
That way, if you run into any issues or have any last-minute questions you can get them answered before you start the test.
Double check how all the equipment works and how it should be adhered to your body. Also, check what to do the next morning after your test to confirm the proper removal of the equipment.
Step Two: The Day of Your Sleep Study
It’s very important to follow your normal daily routine as best as you can. Here are a few tips to help you prepare for an accurate test result:
- Avoid napping during the day
- Exclude caffeine or energy drinks after lunchtime
- Eat dinner around six, that way you aren’t too full or too hungry when trying to sleep
- Take a relaxing bath before you are about to go to sleep, but skip applying any lotion
Step Three: The Night of Your Home Sleep Study
Re-read all instruction booklets thoroughly and place equipment where designated. Double-check what you should do the next morning after you have completed the at home sleep study.
Some at-home sleep studies have velcro-secured belts that need to be placed in certain areas, make sure these belts are in the proper positions. If there are sensors that need to be aligned, make sure they are aligned properly.
In general, the at-home sleep study process includes the following:
- Tape a thin wire to your nose and mouth to measure nasal and oral airflow; some sensors look like a nasal cannula some patients wear to improve their breathing
- Place an elastic band across your chest and abdomen to measure breathing
- Put the small clip-like device, known as an oximeter finger probe, on your index finger to evaluate the oxygen levels in your blood as you sleep
Test to see if there are certain lights on the device that warn you if the item isn’t working properly once you know what to look for your chances of having a more accurate test will increase.
After everything is setup properly you can go to sleep comfortably. Sleep in the position that is your most comfortable.
Step Four: The Next Morning
Remove all equipment per the instruction booklet and double check that the sleep study was recorded successfully. If you have any questions about the accuracy of the test you should call your healthcare provider.
Package the equipment and send it back to your healthcare provider.
Step Five: The At Home Sleep Study Results
Most sleep study results will be reviewed and analyzed in a timely manner.
Sleep doctors are generally checking airflow pressure, Respiratory Inductive Plethysmography (RIP), blood oxygenation, sleep apnea event detection, total sleep time, and more.
Read the guidelines that the American Academy of Sleep Medicine (AASM) recommends to diagnose sleep apnea at home. When you receive your sleep apnea results make sure you ask your doctor any questions you may have. Getting answers to these questions will be the basis of a successful transition into sleep apnea CPAP therapy.
Daniela has researched and published over 60 articles covering topics that aim to inform and empower people living with Sleep Apnea. As an avid reader and researcher, Daniela continues to grow her knowledge about Sleep Apnea and CPAP therapy everyday with the help of coworkers, CPAP.com customers, and members of other CPAP communities online.