Are you considering a sleep study? Maybe your doctor has recommended you complete one. There are many different reasons for taking a sleep study, whether it be chronic snoring, daytime tiredness or insomnia. If there’s a strain on your relationship due to excessive snoring or you wake up frequently through the night, a sleep study can help determine the underlying issues.
An overnight sleep study at a medical facility might sound nerve-wracking, for good reason. No one wants to have to spend a night being watched in an uncomfortable bed with a bunch of wires attached to them. Good news! We can take the worry away! With so many advancements in medicine, you don’t have to worry about an overnight sleep study.
At-home sleep tests are up-and-coming in diagnosing sleep-related disorders. With an at-home sleep test, you do not have to worry about spending a night in a medical facility! There’s less equipment involved, you can sleep in your own bed, and getting the data to the doctor is easy. This article covers what an at-home sleep study is, what to expect from one, and how to prepare for it so you won’t have to stress when it’s time to take it.
What is an At-Home Sleep Study?
At-home sleep tests allow you to complete a sleep study from the comfort of your own home. It is an easy and cost-effective way to determine what is causing your disrupted sleep. The equipment you need for the test is provided to you. You will usually sleep with the equipment on for two or three nights, then return it so the data can be downloaded and a diagnosis can be made. In recent years, advancements have been made that allow for you to sync data to your phone, send it to your doctor, and dispose of the equipment used. These tests are commonly used to diagnose suspected sleep apnea and track breathing throughout the night.
A Note About At-Home Sleep Tests
While you may be concerned about the accuracy of a sleep study that’s done outside of a facility, at-home sleep tests are considered very accurate, especially for diagnosing sleep apnea disorders. As sleep medicine has improved over the years, at-home tests have become more common for diagnosing sleep disorders. At-home sleep tests put you first and ensure your comfort while still getting the information necessary for diagnosis.
What Happens during an At-Home Sleep Test
It’s normal to be a bit nervous before a sleep study, especially if you’ve never done one before. Thankfully, at-home sleep tests are non-invasive and relatively stress-free! No need to be anxious or awake all night, riddled with wires. The process for an at-home sleep test is actually pretty simple:
1. Your sleep specialist will instruct you on how to use your equipment for the test. Make sure you ask questions and be entirely open and honest with them about any concerns you may have!
2. You may have to pick up the equipment from your doctor before the test. Usually, the doctor’s office will have the equipment you need and you just pick it up. In other cases, though, the equipment can be delivered to you directly.
3. When you are ready for bed, attach the sensors to your body as instructed.The instruction sheet in the device package is clearly written and very explicit about what you need to do to successfully complete the sensor attachments and the operation of the device.
4. In the morning, remove the sensors. Depending on the type of your sleep test, you might have to return the equipment to your specialist. If not, you can probably sync the data to your phone, dispose of the equipment and send the information to your doctor.
5. Results can take up to two weeks to process, so patience is important! You don’t have to worry about doing anything special after the test; you can continue with your normal routine. When the results are processed, you will probably be called in for a follow-up visit with your doctor.
Preparing for an At-Home Sleep Test
In preparation for your at-home sleep test, you’ll want to keep a few things in mind:
1. Cut back on the caffeine
While it might be difficult to get through your day without your usual coffee break, it’s best to steer clear of caffeine the day of your sleep study. At the very least, try to avoid caffeine after lunch. Falling asleep knowing you’re taking a test can take a bit longer than normal. You might overthink the test. So, going to bed as exhausted as possible is definitely a good idea!
2. Don’t change your routine unless otherwise instructed
Keep up your regular sleeping routine as best as you can before the test. Do the same for your daily routines; don’t refrain from any normal activities you might participate in on a regular day, like going for a run. Your doctor might ask you to hold off on napping before the test, but otherwise, consistency is really helpful in preparing for any kind of sleep study.
4. Sedatives and some medications are a no-go
Sedatives can alter test results, so avoid them the day of your test. Some medications or supplements can also alter results, so make sure you discuss your medications beforehand in case you need to skip a dose for the study. You want the data collected from your test to be as accurate as possible.
5. Stay in touch with your doctor
Your doctor might have additional instructions for you to follow before your test, so keep in touch. In some cases, you and possibly your bed partner will be asked to fill out a sleep diary. Be sure to answer the questions accurately and be comfortable discussing your sleep and routines with your doctor. This sort of information can help doctors determine how you can best prepare for your study.
Common At-Home Sleep Tests
1. WatchPAT ONE by Itamar Medical
WatchPAT ONE is a disposable at-home sleep test that measures 7 channels, PAT signal, heart rate, oximetry, actigraphy, body position, snoring and chest motion, via three points of contact. This contact delivers 98% study success rate.
Some key features of this test include improved accuracy with scientifically validated sleep architecture, prevention of up to 20% misdiagnosis with true sleep time, and high accuracy with central sleep apnea identification. It also creates automated reports in seconds.
SleepView by Clevemed is the smallest and lightest home testing monitor. It measures 8 channels. It’s designed for easy self-administration and exceeds the American Academy of Sleep Medicine’s home sleep test guidelines. SleepView uses a web portal to collect data and send it to your specialist.
The First Step to a Better Night’s Sleep
If you are struggling with unusual symptoms like snoring or chronic fatigue, a sleep study could be the first step to treatment, and at-home sleep tests make it easy! There are many treatments available to help with issues like chronic snoring or sleep disorders such as sleep apnea. While CPAP machines have been a common treatment for sleep disorders in the past, oral appliance therapy is a non-invasive and more comfortable treatment option.
Advanced Sleep Solutions of Virginia, an affiliate of Advanced Sleep Solutions Centers of America, offers a variety of FDA-approved intraoral treatment devices. These appliances are great CPAP alternatives and offer a more comfortable night’s rest.
Our team of highly trained sleep professionals is here to help you get the sleep you need for a better quality of life. What’s more, we use at-home sleep tests! We want to ensure your utmost comfort, and you, as the patient, are put first. Additionally, with online scheduling and our own secure telemedicine portals for communication, we make the process as simple and painless as possible.
Interested in an at-home sleep test? Suffering from chronic snoring, restless nights, and more? We’re here to help! Schedule an appointment online or call us at (703) 689-2480.