Physiologically, muscles that aid in breathing — the throat, the chest, and the diaphragm — relax during sleep. It should not be a problem for a healthy individual; however, it is not the case for someone with obstructive sleep apnea. The reason is that relaxed breathing muscles coupled with a narrowed airway interrupt breathing during sleep. Therefore, if you often wake up feeling tired, with a headache or with a dry mouth, you need to test for sleep apnea. Luckily, you can use at-home sleep testing kits, especially if you keep hearing that you snore, gasp or snort while sleeping. Here are essential facts about at-home sleep tests.
Monitors Breathing, Not Actual Sleep
One of the most common misconceptions about at-home sleep studies is that they evaluate how well you sleep. However, it could not be further from the truth because a sleep test's primary purpose is to analyse your breathing patterns. The nasal cannula and the heart rate finger sensor collect information regarding your blood oxygen saturation, respiratory effort, and heart rate rhythms. The information is stored in a sleep data monitor, where a board-certified sleep physician analyses it to determine whether you suffer from sleep apnea.
Requires a Small Commitment
Unlike in-lab sleep studies where a patient undergoes thorough and costly testing, at-home sleep study kits require a small commitment. Typically, patients use at-home sleep study kits for only one night. The reason is that sleep patterns do not usually change, mainly if you carry out a test in your own home and bed. However, it is different from in-lab sleep studies, where you might have to adjust to the new environment. Thus, a sleep technologist only needs one night to collect all the information they need to determine whether you have sleep apnea or not. Since an at-home sleep study is a small commitment, it is a cheaper option, and most insurance companies cover the procedure.
Results Might Not Rule Out Apnea
You will be required to drop an at-home sleep study kit at a laboratory for close examination by a sleep technologist. Notably, the results could rule out sleep apnea, but it may not be the case, especially if symptoms persist. For example, if a heart rate finger sensor falls while you sleep, data will be inaccurate. In such cases, your physician will order an in-lab study. Therefore, a lab technician will be around to monitor the test while you sleep. However, if you wear an at-home study kit correctly, you do not have to worry about inaccurate results.
For more information about home sleep study kits, talk to your doctor.