A Guide to the Home Sleep Test

June 10th, 2019 by Vishal Saini


Do you wake up tired, feel headaches or your mouth is dry every morning? If yes, then you may be suffering from Obstructive sleep apnea. To find out whether you are suffering from it or is there another sleeping disorder, you need to test your sleep. But before moving to the test process, let’s talk about Obstructive sleep apnea (OSA).
Obstructive sleep apnea happens due to interruption of breathing during sleep producing the snoring sound. Throat and chest help you in breathing. Body muscles including these relax while sleep. The relaxed throat muscles cause partial or complete obstruction of the upper airways interrupting your breath.

To figure out sleep apnea or any other sleep disorder, a test called polysomnography (sleep study) is available. The typical way to do this is, the patient has to sleep in the sleep lab at night where sensors are attached to his body. The polysomnography equipment records the patient’s sleep data. However, with the advanced technology, the polysomnography home test is also possible, and it’s known as Home Sleep Test (HST) or Home Sleep Study.

Home Sleep Apnea Test an Overview

Home sleep apnea testing is a way to find out whether you are suffering from trouble breathe or not. It provides all the information necessary for your doctor to diagnose sleep apnea at home. It is very effective and cost friendly test to process. It is a breathing monitor designed to record your breathing not your actual sleep, oxygen levels, efforts that you make to breathe while sleep. As the name suggests, it allows you to sleep at your home with attached equipment and sensors that capture your breath during sleep. It is so easy that you can set up the entire equipment individually.

There are different kinds of home sleep test devices in the market having different equipment and sensors to take a home sleep test. Some are so advanced that they also track your heart rate, muscle tone, and leg movements.

If your sleeping partner complains you snore and gasp, or you have disturbed sleep or you feel sleepy in the day, and you are heavyweight, home sleep apnea test is the right thing to do. Talk to your Board – Certified physician about your symptoms and he may recommend home sleep testing services to you.

The home sleep test carries out when you have a high chance of moderate to severe obstructive sleep apnea or its done when you are not suffering from any other significant medical conditions.

But, you should avoid home sleep apnea test if,

  • You don’t have a high risk of obstructive sleep apnea
  • Your physician finds out that you may have another sleep disorder
  • You are suffering from a certain medical condition like pulmonary diseases, congestive
  • Heart failure or neuromuscular diseases.

In the above cases, in-lab sleep test would be better and safe than home sleep apnea test. In-lab test provides more detailed and comprehensive readings of your sleep.

What HST measures

  • Blood oxygen saturation
  • Heart rate
  • Airflow
  • Respiratory effort
  • Movement in the chest and abdomen
  • Sleep positions
  • Time spent snoring

Pros of Home Sleep Test

  • The patient spends the night in his own bed in the familiar environment making him feel comfortable and reducing first night effect.
  • The cost is very less as compared to the in-lab sleep study producing similar results for obstructive sleep apnea.
    It is advantageous to home-bound, elderly, and people with chronic illness who need special care by a nurse or a family member.
  • It also helps people who find it hard to schedule a night at the lab because of their busy life.
  • More convenient and accessible
  • Cons of home sleep test
  • It may underestimate the level of seriousness of your sleep apnea, though it should detect whether you have it or not.
  • You will get fewer results as compared to test performed in a lab, which can detect across 80 different types of sleep disorder other than the sleep apnea (the most common sleeping disorder)
  • You won’t have access to the staff in your bedroom to make sure that you have attached the equipment correctly and everything set up correctly.
  • During the night, no instructor/staff can fix the problem.

How It Works

A home sleep apnea test aim is to record the data about your sleep.

Precautions

Some points that you should keep thinking to get the accurate and effective information of your test are:

Follow your routine life cycle as it will help in to capture the real results of your routine sleep.
Avoid napping as it may cause you difficulty in sleep at night.
Don’t use things which have caffeine in them after having lunch because it may keep you awake late at night.

Besides these, if you are taking your routine medication, you must speak to your physician about the test. He may recommend you to pause your medication for the test.

To undergo the home sleep apnea test at home, you should have the equipment at your home. Visit the doctor’s clinic to get the equipment, or ask for home delivery.

Before the test, a sleep team member will guide you on how to use the machine and carry out the online sleep test. If you didn’t get any anything or have some confusion or questions, you should ask them so you don’t have any trouble in the test process.

On your scheduled night go to sleep on your regular bedtime just like other nights. When you are ready to sleep, set up the machine and attach the sensor to your body as instructed by the instructor. To start the device you may ask to press the button on the sleep test device before you feel sleepy. Detach the sensors when you wake up early morning. Send the machine back to the center.

Results

The next step is to diagnose the recording and produce the results done by the professional team. They collect the data and analyze the information. The entire process may take a few days or weeks. The sleep physician will approach you to show you the report and will discuss to you. For unsatisfied and ambiguous results, he may recommend you to undergo a test in the lab.

You may ask for an in-lab sleep study if your HST did not capture enough information to make a complete diagnose, or the HST results declare that you are not having obstructive sleep apnea and your physician suspects you may have a different sleeping disorder. To clear these doubts, an additional in-lab study would be necessary.

After carrying out all the tests, if your report says you are suffering from obstructive sleep apnea, your certified sleep physician will come up with different types of treatment. If you are willing to the treatment a plan will be made to treat your obstructive sleep apnea.

Conclusion

A Home Sleep Test (HST) is a reliable and convenient way to figure out if you have sleep apnea (a Sleep disorder). Healthy sleep gives you more energy and has a positive impact on your quality of life whereas interrupted or uncomfortable sleep makes your daily life tasks poor. Sleep apnea also promotes other diseases like obesity, high blood sugar. So, taking a Home Sleep Test is a necessary step to take for a healthy and energetic life.