To many, the phrase “sleep study” might bring to mind the image of a person hooked up to wires, laying in an uncomfortable bed at a medical facility while being observed by a doctor or lab technician. Up until recently, this less-than-cozy picture was not far from the truth. Not surprisingly, this option for sleep apnea testing was off-putting to a lot of people, leading them to avoid getting tested, despite the numerous health risks associated with chronic snoring and sleep apnea.
Fortunately, there’s now a much better option for individuals who need to be evaluated for sleep apnea. Atlanta Snoring Institute offers a home sleep study in Atlanta that allows patients to test from the comfort and convenience of their own bed.
In this blog, the board-certified otolaryngologists dedicated to the treatment of snoring at Atlanta Snoring Institute will address what actually happens during a sleep test, how a home sleep study works and describe the advantages of home testing over in-lab testing.
What Happens During a Sleep Test?
A sleep study, also known as a polysomnogram (PSG), is a relatively simple test to perform. It doesn’t require much from the patient – all you have to do is sleep as you normally would while several electrodes are placed on your body to track your vital signs throughout the night. The electrodes record how you breathe, what happens to your blood oxygen levels, and how your pulse reacts. This data gives doctors a complete snapshot of what you’re going through as you sleep and the results will be used to determine if you have obstructive sleep apnea. Traditionally, sleep studies were only performed in a lab setting at a sleep clinic or hospital.
What’s Involved with Taking a Home Sleep Study in Atlanta?
The first step to sleep apnea testing involves an examination with a physician at the Atlanta Snoring Institute to determine whether you have any symptoms that are indicative of obstructive sleep apnea. Signs of sleep apnea include chronic snoring and excessive daytime drowsiness.
If the doctors decide that you should undergo a home sleep study in Atlanta, you’ll be equipped with a small device and simple instructions to take home in order to complete the test. The compact device will be worn around your head like a headband, collecting important data while you sleep comfortably. After the test, you’ll return the device to the sleep specialists at Atlanta Snoring Institute who will be able to interpret your results and make a diagnosis.
Why Participate in a Home Sleep Study?
A home study can’t be beat in terms of convenience and comfort – and these are two factors that can affect your sleep quality during the test. Doctors need to see what’s happening to you when you sleep normally, and for some, this is difficult to do in a lab setting. You’re in a strange bed, which could be less comfortable than what you’re used to, and the study takes place away from home, so the stress of arranging childcare and traveling to the lab can make your sleep more fitful. Testing at home eliminates these external factors and gives doctors a more accurate picture of your natural sleep activity. Home sleep studies are significantly cheaper than in-lab studies too, meaning that both patients and insurance companies usually save some money on expenses and out of pocket costs.
Are There Times When Going to a Lab Is Better?
It’s possible that you have multiple sleep disorders affecting you at once (e.g. restless legs syndrome, sleep terrors, sleepwalking), which can’t be diagnosed through a home sleep study. In these cases, you might be asked to complete an in-lab test, where doctors will have access to more extensive monitoring equipment.
Furthermore, you may be asked to complete an in-lab test if you have serious health issues like heart or lung problems. Doctors want to be sure that nothing happens to you during testing, and these other conditions can also interfere with home test results.
Want to Find a Home Sleep Study in Atlanta?
Don’t assume your snoring and daytime sleepiness are things you have to live with. Fill out the yellow form on this page to schedule your appointment with a sleep specialist at the Atlanta Snoring Institute for a consultation. We have three locations in the Atlanta area, making it easy for you to get treatment.
If you’re still not sure if you have symptoms that are indicative of sleep apnea, take our sleep and snore quizzes to determine if further testing is necessary.