Can I Trust My At-Home Sleep Study Results?


Hey Sleep Warriors, 


In this part 2 of my 2-part series on at-home sleep tests, I’m going to cover who is best suited for having their study done at home vs in the lab, Then I’ll touch on how the differences in the two studies can impact the diagnosis and treatment of your sleep disorder. 

People who are well-suited for doing their studies at home include:

  1. People at high risk for sleep apnea - meaning you have several risk factors, such as loud snoring, being overweight, non-refreshing sleep, daytime sleepiness or fatigue. 
  2. People who don’t want to spend the night away from home
  3. People who are comfortable hooking up the testing equipment at home (which is ‘moderately’ simple)
  4. People with insurance plans that require a home apnea test first. After all, the cost of doing the at-home study averages about $500 but costs over $3000 in the lab.  
  5. People who are being evaluated only for sleep apnea. If you have unusual behaviors during sleep or are concerned about leg jerks, you will need to head to the lab.   

Next, you may remember last week when I mentioned that an in-lab study is a more sensitive test for sleep apnea (because of that whole EEG and arousal thing). The AHI (which is the measure of the severity of your apnea) - is often HIGHER in an in-lab test than in an at-home study.

I had a patient last week whose AHI was less than 10 in her at-home study and was over 30 in the lab. That’s the difference between mild and severe sleep apnea in the same patient! 

And because the severity of your sleep apnea can influence what treatment options are recommended, you will want to remember that whatever your AHI number is on an at-home study, it is likely an underestimate of the true severity of your disease. 

To be clear, this doesn’t mean that everyone with an at-home sleep study should follow it up with an in-lab study.  I just want you, my educated sleep warriors, to understand these differences. 

That’s it for today, I’ll see you next week!

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