Home sleep studies are a convenient and affordable alternative to getting a sleep test in a lab. However, while most people can take advantage of them, they are not for everyone. So how do you know when a home sleep study is appropriate for you?
A home sleep test is right for you if you:
Have sleep apnea symptoms
Don’t have other sleep disorders
Don’t have serious health conditions
Receive a prescription from a doctor
Know the Symptoms of Sleep Apnea
Sleep apnea is a highly disruptive condition. Although it happens when you are asleep, there are common signs and symptoms that will give you a strong sense that you might have the condition. Among the most common symptoms you will notice are:
Waking up unrested
Feeling sleepy during the day
Dozing off during daily tasks like working, driving, or watching TV
Low motivation and energy
Waking up frequently to urinate
Typically, if you think you’re spending enough time in bed but feeling unrested in the morning, are sleepy during the day, and doze off, it’s likely you have sleep apnea. However, if you experience any three symptoms above, you should consider getting a sleep study.
You should also pay attention to what any co-sleeper says about your sleeping. If they say you snore loudly, gasp, choke, or sleep restlessly, you should consider that sleep apnea could be the cause.
You might have also been diagnosed with other health conditions. Conditions like high blood pressure (hypertension), diabetes, migraines, and atrial fibrillation, are all closely linked to sleep apnea. In some cases, a diagnosis of depression, low testosterone, or hypothyroidism, might actually be sleep apnea misdiagnosed. Even if you don’t notice sleep apnea symptoms, take it seriously if your friends and doctors are describing some of these related signs and conditions.
Eliminate Other Sleep Disorders
Home sleep studies have the advantage of being easy, convenient, and inexpensive. However, they have the disadvantage of not being as detailed and complex as a lab sleep study. This means they can’t always distinguish between the effects of sleep apnea and other sleep disorders. To ensure an accurate result you aren’t a candidate for a home sleep if you have sleep disorders like:
Restless leg syndrome
Circadian rhythm disorders
Insomnia is the most common sleep disorder, and it could especially interfere with sleep study results if you have maintenance insomnia–the inability to stay asleep.
Restless leg syndrome also causes restless sleep and can keep the sleep study from showing good results.
Narcolepsy is a form of hypersomnia–the inability to stay awake–this can disrupt your nighttime sleep patterns as well, interfering with diagnosis.
Circadian rhythm disorder is when your body can’t fall asleep according to a regular schedule. Parasomnia is when you act in strange ways while sleeping, and includes sleepwalking. If you have one or more of these disorders, you should seek out a sleep study at a lab.
Do You Have Serious Health Conditions?
Another reason why you might not be able to get a sleep study at home is if you have serious health conditions that can trigger during sleep and may either interfere with the test or cause serious complications.
A home sleep study is not recommended if you have:
Moderate to severe cardiac disease
Moderate to severe pulmonary disease
This is one of the most unfortunate restrictions since sleep apnea itself can cause some of these conditions. You will need to talk to a doctor about this before getting a sleep study prescribed.
Get a Prescription from a Doctor with Telemedicine
You might think that you have to see a doctor in person to get a prescription for a home sleep study. However, with telemedicine, you can not only take your sleep study at home, you can consult with a doctor there, too.
Telemedicine is probably the most convenient way to talk to a doctor about many types of health conditions. You don’t have to travel to see the doctor, so it doesn’t matter how remote your location is. You might be able to consult at the hours that are best for you, rather than typical business hours. This can make it easier to fit a consultation into your busy daily routine. This also helps make it more affordable.
And right now telemedicine has the advantage of letting you talk to a doctor without having to put yourself at risk for COVID, which, thanks to the delta variant, is currently surging in many areas across the country. (See our sanitation protocols to understand the steps we’re taking against COVID.)
Sleep apnea is an ideal condition for telemedicine. All the pre-screening can be done remotely, by talking about your symptoms, risk factors, and more. The only test you need to take in person is the sleep study itself. Once you get your prescription, it will be sent to you.
Don’t Suffer the Risks of Undiagnosed Sleep Apnea
Most people with sleep apnea are currently undiagnosed. Unfortunately, being undiagnosed doesn’t keep you from suffering the dangers of sleep apnea. It could be undermining your health and leading to conditions that you are currently treating or might need treatment for in the future.
Getting a sleep apnea diagnosis with a home sleep study will let you get the treatment that can head off the worst risks, such as heart failure, stroke, cancer, and potentially an early death.
Please contact SleepTest.com today to start the process of getting a home sleep study.
* This article was originally published on Sleeptest.com