Which Sleep Study is Right for You?

sleep studyDid you realize that up to 70 million adults in the United States are believed to have a sleep disorder? Unfortunately, all too often patients go years before realizing their condition which can result in some serious consequences; irregular heartbeat, heart disease, heart attack, high blood pressure and diabetes are all associated with untreated sleep disorders. Fatigue, stress, morning headaches, depression, irritability, anxiety, decreased cognitive abilities and lower sex drive are also symptoms to be on the lookout for.

Sleep disorders can range from mild to extremely severe and they need to be correctly diagnosed for effective treatment. A sleep study is the best way for your doctor to diagnose or rule out a sleep disorder. But what type of sleep study is right for you? Let’s look at them; There are four different types of sleep studies that can be conducted:

  • Polysomnogram – studies brain activity, heart rate, blood pressure and eye movements. It also records air movement through the nose, snoring, chest movements and oxygen in the blood.
  • Home Sleep Study – Similar to a polysomnogram except with a portable monitor. Measures the amount of blood oxygen, heart rate, chest movements and air movement through the nose.
  • Multiple Sleep Latency Test – Measures daytime sleepiness; typically used to diagnose narcolepsy and idiopathic hypersomonia
  • Maintenance of Wakefulness Test – Measures the ability to stay awake and alert and is used to determine if daytime sleepiness is a safety concern.

The most common sleep study conducted is the polysomnogram which is typically done at a sleep center or in a hospital setting. It is becoming more common however for physicians to conduct home sleep studies, depending on the type of sleep disorder they are looking for. If a physician suspects that you have moderate to severe obstructive sleep apnea (OSA) and have no other significant medical conditions, then a home sleep study may make more sense than an in-lab sleep study. The cost for an in-home sleep study is significantly lower and there is no lag time waiting for an appointment at a sleep center.

An in-lab sleep study will provide a more comprehensive evaluation of critical sleep patterns and is recommended for patients who are suspected of another type of sleep disorder than OSA.  Also, if there is a history of pulmonary disease, congestive heart failure or neuromuscular diseases it is not recommended to have a home sleep study. A physician or sleep specialist will go over the different options available to the patient depending on their medical history and suspected sleep disorder and will help set up the appropriate study for the best results.


Home sleep studies: easier, convenient and cost-efficient

Home Sleep StudyLately you’ve been having trouble sleeping at night and your doctor referred you to take an over night sleep study. The problem is, your schedule is already hectic, you’re exhausted, and there is absolutely no possible way you’re able to stay at an over night study. There is no need to stress out; many patients now have the opportunity to take a home sleep test in the comfort of their own home. Not only do you not have a long wait to schedule an appointment you even have the convenience of taking home a monitor that day after being briefed on how to operate the machine with a sleep technologist.

The home sleep study is relatively pretty easy. You will go through your normal daily routine. When it is time for bed, you place a belt around your mid section, apply an airflow sensor under your nose, and attach a clip to your finger, finally turn the machine and fall asleep. Not all machines are exactly the same; some may require you to add a few other stick-on sensors to the body. The following morning when you wake up, pack the machine up, return it to your doctor and wait to hear back with the results. Do keep in mind it could take a few days for the results.

The portable monitor will measure your oxygen levels, heart rate, airflow and breathing effort along with snoring while you sleep. Some machines will even record brain waves. If you were to go to an in-laboratory polysomnogram or PSG everything being measured is exactly the same as the home sleep study. In addition, the in-lab study will additionally measure EKG, sleep time, and leg movements and let’s not forget a licensed sleep technologist will be there to monitor you.

The cost to have an in-lab polysomnogram can cost up to $5,000, depending on what state you live in. Most insurance companies currently accept home sleep studies and actually prefer it instead of in-lab since it can cost as low as $200.

There are a few disadvantages to the home sleep test. The modified sleep study can only be used to diagnose obstructive sleep apnea (OSA). All other sleep disorder studies still have to be performed at an in-lab sleep center. For those with congestive heart failure, emphysema, seizures, pulmonary diseases and neuromuscular diseases a home sleep test is not recommended. Lastly, there is always a possibly the home sleep study might not record enough data to make a complete diagnosis. If this were to be the case, your physician will have you attend an over night sleep study at an in- laboratory polysomnography.

Interested in taking a home sleep test? Talk with a sleep specialist or watch our video to learn more.