Taking the Sleep Study Test at Home: What Should You Know?
Are you sleeping well? Or do you often have people complaining about your snoring habit? Or about your all time tiredness? All this, and you are still not sure if this is a real problem that needs treatment? Well, it’s time you take the home sleep test.
A home sleep test (HST) is a convenient and accurate way of finding out if you are suffering from a sleep disorder, such as sleep apnea. The test helps identify any potential issues you may be facing, and ensures you take the required treatment for a better night’s sleep.
But what exactly does the sleep study test entail? And how do you go about it? Take a look:
What is a Home Sleep Test?
A home sleep test is a very simplified device that monitors your breathing, oxygen levels, pulse rate and breathing effort for an overnight sleep. The device records this data and further reports can be generated, using which sleep experts can identify if you are dealing with a sleeping disorder.
Taking this test is the first step towards improving your sleep quality. And this will also enable you to reduce its associated health risks through correct treatment methods.
It brings the following benefits:
Comfort of your home
Rather than staying in an unfamiliar environment to take the sleep study test, the HST device allows you to take the test in the comfort of your own home. You are allowed to go through your typical nighttime routine. And this also yields the most effective results.
Since the test is taken at your home, there are no situations of other patients scheduled before you for the study. You don’t have to make time for it in your calendar, just go to sleep as you do every night and the test will be done.
Ideal for several cases of sleep apnea
Sleeping in an unfamiliar environment may be more difficult for patients with severe sleep apnea. Taking the test at home ensures they sleep in their normal schedule, and HST is able to capture more severe apnea events without closer monitoring.
The home sleep test is a cost friendly alternative for measuring your sleep behavior, and is about one-third of the cost spent on sleep apnea diagnosis via Polysomnogram.
How to Test for Sleep Apnea at Home?
You are now familiar with what the home sleep test does, and the benefits it brings to the table. Now how to go about using it?
ResMed offers a Home Sleep Test for helping you diagnose the quality of your sleep. All you need to do is order one, and the device is available to be used in the comfort of your home.
To start with the test, you simply need to strap on the velcro belt around your chest, and put on the nasal cannula and pulse oximeter.
The nasal cannula measures the flow of air through your nostrils
The effort sensor, placed around your chest, measures chest expansion during breathing, to monitor how much effort you put into breathing while asleep
The pulse oximeter, placed on your fingertip, measures the oxygen saturation in your blood
Take a look at this video to understand the entire Home Sleep Testing process at ResMed. It demonstrates exactly how to set up the device and explains how to use it.
The device logs in all these different parameters being measured by the device components. Once returned, the sleep experts prepare a report using these data, and are able to communicate your sleep quality.
However, to ensure that these results are accurate, you must keep in mind the following:
Follow the instructions provided to you for using the equipment for the HST
Take the test in your normal sleep conditions, at home, during a weekday. Do not take it while on a vacation, or during a weekend, as it will not give the best data of your sleep pattern
Do not drink alcohol or caffeine close to bedtime. Alcohol and caffeine cause interrupts in sleep patterns
Problems Related to the Home Sleep Test
The home sleep test is an accurate method of diagnosing your sleep patterns, and whether you have sleep apnea. But often, it may not be the correct measure of your sleep disorder. Here’s why:
Only monitors the breathing and oxygen levels, and hence can diagnose sleep apnea in a patient. But it won’t be as effective in diagnosing other sleep orders that are not breathing related.
HST diagnoses the severity of sleep apnea in a patient, but not necessarily the presence of it. So if you have mild to moderate sleep apnea, home sleep test is not an ideal test for you.
It does not diagnose other medical conditions such as COPD, congestive heart failure, or other complex disorders that may impact your breathing.
With home sleep tests, there are quite many chances of human errors, incorrectly placed sensors, lost sensors etc. This can prevent accurate readings, and yield incorrect results.
But having said that, these problems also vary from brand to brand. Taking the ResMed’s free sleep quiz assessment gives you a better idea of your apnea condition, and whether home sleep test is really what you need. Also, ResMed’s home sleep test device comes with full instructions for use, and you have a sleep coach you can contact for any discrepancies.
The sleep coach will also take you through your HST report post the test. The results are based on your score on the Apnea Hypopnea Index (AHI), and indicates the severity of your sleep apnea. Based on the score, ResMed sleep coaches can consult on the best course of treatment.
Ready to take the first step towards a healthy sleep? Book your Home Sleep Test with ResMed.