Home sleep apnea tests work by attaching sensors to your body that measure a variety of variables, including your heart rate, blood oxygen levels, airflow and breathing patterns. These measurements can help your doctor diagnose obstructive sleep apnea and recommend treatment options. To ensure that your home sleep apnea test is successful, plan out the test day in advance so that it is easy for the device to stay in place. Avoid drinking alcohol or taking caffeine close to the time of your test and keep your hair and body products free from sprays, gels, and makeup.
The number of sensors and types of measurements vary between home sleep apnea tests. The most accurate test uses at least three sensors that provide a comprehensive picture of your sleeping habits. These measurements can help your doctor diagnose obstructive sleep apnea and recommend treatment options. However, since some home tests are less accurate, particularly those that only measure a few key variables, they are not as accurate as in-clinic observed tests. In such cases, your doctor may recommend an in-lab study for a more accurate diagnosis of sleep apnea.
Before you can take an at-home test, your doctor must determine if it’s the right option for you. They may also want to discuss your medical history and other potential sleep disorders that are not caused by obstructive sleep apnea. Typically, doctors order an at-home test when they suspect moderate to severe OSA in patients without other medical conditions. Overall, home sleep apnea tests are an excellent choice for people who don’t have access to or can’t afford a lab-based sleep study as they are typically less expensive than polysomnography and can sometimes be covered by health insurance.