You wake up feeling groggy and irritated every morning, even though you went to bed at a reasonable time. Your partner says you are making gasping noises when you sleep, and they mention that you seem to stop breathing during the night. Your doctor suggests you visit a sleep apnea clinic to have an overnight polysomnography, but that’s not an option for you. After weeks of poor sleep, you are feeling desperate. There has to be another way to figure out what’s going on. And there is. AZ Dentist now offers a home sleep apnea test that skips the overnight clinic visit to get you some answers. Here’s everything you need to know to get started with your home sleep study.
How does AZ Dentist’s home sleep apnea test work?
AZ Dentist utilizes the SleepMed ARES device for our home sleep apnea test. Instead of spending the night in an unfamiliar, clinical setting, hooked up to electrodes and wires that can make sleep nearly impossible, the SleepMed device uses a headband that monitors and records many of the same things a clinical sleep study does. This includes:
- Oxygen saturation
- Pulse rate
- Snoring levels
- Head position and movement
- Nasal pressure
A canula fits comfortably in your nostrils and sends information to a chip in the headband. This system stores up to three nights of sleep data and can help us make a more accurate diagnosis.
What are the benefits of a home sleep apnea test?
There are many reasons that a home sleep apnea study might be a better option.
1. Sleeping in a clinical setting is challenging
When you participate in a sleep study in a clinical setting, you are hooked up to wires and placed in a room that is like a hospital room.
The bed is not your own, and often there is ambient light from monitors. Additionally, a clinician is likely monitoring you at various times throughout the night. It can be challenging to find comfort and to relax enough to sleep under these conditions.
2. Polysomnography is expensive
A sleep study in the lab can cost four times as much as a home sleep apnea test. And, unless there are serious risk factors, some insurance companies will not pay for this clinical sleep study.
If you must pay out of pocket for a sleep apnea test, a sleep apnea home test kit is more affordable.
3. Clinical sleep tests can be frightening or intimidating
Some patients struggle with the idea of spending the night in a hospital. Whether they suffer from anxiety or PTSD (both conditions that are comorbid with sleep apnea), the idea of being essentially strapped to a machine in a foreign setting may be impossible to comprehend for them. For children with sleep apnea, a clinical setting may be too scary to get accurate results. Home sleep apnea tests allow you to stay in the comfort of your home and is more comfortable for many people.
While an overnight sleep study will provide more information on things like brain waves, leg movement, and heart rates, a home sleep apnea test is an affordable, convenient, and comfortable place to start.
Are home sleep apnea tests accurate?
There are no side effects of a sleep apnea home test kit, but the biggest concern for patients is whether or not they are accurate. Sleep apnea is typically underdiagnosed at rate of 80%. This means that only two out of every ten people with sleep apnea know they have it and are taking steps to treat it. Unfortunately, untreated sleep apnea is associated with an increased risk of stroke, heart disease, depression, dementia, and even death.
While a home sleep apnea test may not be able to detect mild cases of sleep apnea, the SleepMed Ares sleep apnea test is nearly as accurate as a clinical sleep study.
So accurate, in fact, that 96% of patients get the same result from the SleepMed Ares home sleep apnea as they do in a sleep study conducted in the clinical setting. Even as early as 2008, research showed that the data recorded in the SleepMed Ares home sleep apnea test kit was as accurate as polysomnography in a clinic.
How do I do the sleep study?
Your home sleep study starts with a consultation with your doctor or dentist. Once the sleep study is ordered, a technician will deliver your test to your home. They’ll go over how it works. After your sleep study is done, the technician will pick it up and return it to your doctor for analysis.
When your results are in, you can schedule an appointment to discuss them as well as treatment options.
Am I at risk for sleep apnea?
The first step is to figure out if you are at risk for sleep apnea. SleepMed offers a quick online assessment of your sleep apnea risk, but you can also watch for the following symptoms:
- You frequently wake with a morning headache
- You are tired and feel unrested most days
- Your sleeping partner says you stop breathing and wake up with a gasp
- You have common sleep apnea risks factors, such as obesity
If you are at risk or experiencing any of the above symptoms, it’s time to have a talk with your doctor or sleep apnea dentist.
If you are looking for a more comfortable, affordable, and accurate home sleep apnea test, get in touch with the sleep apnea dentists at AZ Dentist. We can help you on your way to a better night’s sleep.