While you’re sleeping, a lot happens in your body and brain. Your doctor can identify and treat several sleep disorders, such as sleep apnea and restless leg syndrome, by monitoring this activity during a sleep study. A sleep study can also determine the root causes of excessive sleepiness. If you are concerned about having a sleep study done, this blog post can assist you in better understanding the procedure and feeling more at ease.
Sleep Study: What Is It?
Sleep studies capture particular body functions as they occur. This information paints a clear picture of your sleeping habits, including:
- How much time do you spend in light and deep sleep stages, whether you’re getting enough oxygen
- How frequently do you wake up (even briefly)
- Whether activities like arm and leg movements can cause instability in your sleep.
Why do I require a sleep study?
If your doctor suspects you have a sleep disorder, they might recommend a sleep study. Sleep studies identify disorders like insomnia, sleep apnea, narcolepsy, and parasomnias. The effectiveness of a specific treatment, such as positive airway pressure (PAP) therapy for patients with breathing issues while they sleep, is another reason to perform a sleep study.
What signs or symptoms indicate a sleep disorder?
If you experience any of these common signs, you may have a sleep disorder:
- Loudly snore while you’re asleep.
- Suddenly, I startle awake, gasping for air.
- Daytime fatigue and sleepiness
- During sleep, you toss and turn or get restless.
- Unable to sleep and wake up frequently.
What is a Home-based Sleep Study?
A home-based sleep study test is a modified form of sleep study that you can complete conveniently at home. The portable sleep monitoring equipment keeps track of details like heart rate, blood oxygen levels, breathing rate, airflow, and snoring while you sleep. The results of this test assist in confirming the presence of mild to severe obstructive sleep apnea.
Individuals should only do home sleep apnea testing if they have sleep disorder symptoms. Sleep studies should not be done for:
- Patients with serious medical issues (such as heart failure, moderate to severe heart or lung disease, or neuromuscular disease).
- Patients with suspected obstructive sleep apnea with other sleep disorders (such as central sleep apnea, restless legs syndrome, insomnia, circadian rhythm abnormalities, parasomnias, or narcolepsy).
Typically, the sleep study device will be attached to the patient at the clinic. The patient can go about their daily activities since the device will automatically track vital sleep signs once they are asleep. Usually, a week after the device has been returned; the results will be available to your primary care provider.
Reasons for a Home-Based Sleep Study
A home-based sleep test is beneficial for several reasons. First, it is critical to diagnose and treat obstructive sleep apnea because, if left untreated, obstructive sleep apnea (OSA) can be fatal and raise your risk of several serious health issues, including:
- Diabetes type 2
- Heart attack
A sleep study offers valuable information to sleep technologists and medical professionals for diagnosing particular patients with suspected OSA.
The following are other justifications for a home test:
Polysomnograms (in-lab sleep studies) are significantly more expensive than home sleep apnea studies. They are less costly than polysomnograms by about a fourth, making them a more appealing option for individuals who would pay out of pocket and insurance companies. Insurance companies frequently request Home-based sleep studies as a primary sleep apnea diagnostic technique.
Comfort and Accessibility
Testing from home is far more practical than spending the night at a lab. It may be challenging to do an in-lab sleep test for various reasons, such as living in a remote place; or having additional medical conditions that would make it impossible to sleep in a lab. Moreover, the idea is highly impractical.
How should I get ready for my sleep test?
The sleep physician will send you detailed advice on preparing for your sleep study. The following general information:
- For at least eight hours before your study, refrain from drinking alcohol or consuming anything that contains caffeine (such as coffee, tea, colas, chocolate, energy drinks, or protein bars).
- You should disclose all medications you are taking to your doctor. Before your study, Your sleep physician might instruct you to stop taking medications temporarily.
On the day of your study:
- Maintain your regular mealtimes.
- Do not sleep at all.
- Do not use conditioner, hair spray, gels, or other treatments after taking a shower or washing your hair. Apply no creams, lotions, powders, aftershave, cologne, perfume, or other cosmetics or products to your face or body. These products may hamper the recording made by electrodes placed on your skin.
What happens following the sleep study?
A sleep physician examines the results. They will evaluate whether you have a sleep disorder and what medication or therapies you require. The provider who requested the study will get a report (usually one to two weeks after the study has been completed). Your healthcare professional will inform you of the outcomes and next steps.
A message from the Heartscope Specialist Group
Many people are hesitant about undergoing a sleep study because they believe they may need to have heavy machines attached to their bodies. They have good reason to be concerned because the old equipment was bulky, loud, and difficult to use.
Rest assured, that is not the case anymore. The tools used to treat sleep apnea have undergone numerous advancements in recent years.
Contact your primary care provider or GP if you have concerns with your sleeping patterns. Heartscope also offers consultations and other related sleep services. As medical professionals, we are here to help you sleep better and stay healthy. Our goal is to make it easier for people to get a good night’s sleep and to keep their bodies and minds healthy so they may enjoy life more.