We spend roughly 1/3rd of our lives sleeping. Think about that for a minute. Considering sleep is such a major component of all our lives, it’s vitally important that we do what we can to get the best sleep possible. Unfortunately, many of us struggle to get adequate sleep, while many have conditions such as sleep apnea that prevent them from entering the most restful stages of sleep. If you’re concerned about your sleep habits, it may be worthwhile to look into taking a home sleep study.
What is a Home Sleep Study?
An at home sleep study, also referred to as a home sleep apnea test or unattended sleep study, is a medical test that is conducted at the patient’s home. The patient will be sent home with equipment that is used to monitor activity and sleep quality during the night. Later, that data is used to determine if the patient has any concerning patterns and to determine if a sleep disorder – such as sleep apnea – is to blame.
A home sleep apnea test utilizes a device that is typically attached to your chest using a harness of sorts. There will also be a series of wires with sensors attached to various places on your body, as well as a sensor near your nose to measure air flow. The patient will sleep with the machine for 1-3 nights, and then return to their doctor to review the data collected.
What Does an At Home Sleep Study Measure?
A sleep study conducted at home is meant to collect data on all aspects of sleep – from physical movement to breathing air flow to eye movement and more. The picture above will give you an idea of just some of the data that is collected during these tests.
Who Should Consider a Home Sleep Study?
Generally, doctors will recommend sleep studies to patients who they feel may have obstructive sleep apnea. This condition is more common than you might think. Some of the symptoms of sleep apnea include snoring, poor sleep quality, daytime fatigue, restlessness at night, and more. People who are overweight have an increased risk of developing sleep apnea. If you have experienced any of the above symptoms, it’s worth it to speak with your doctor about your options.
How Much Does a Sleep Study Cost?
At home sleep study prices will vary greatly depending on your location and the quality of your insurance package. Here in the US, typical prices can be estimated in the $100-$500 range. Most insurance plans will cover home sleep studies as they are considered preventative medicine – but, due to the complex nature of insurance, it’s important to look into the details of your individual plan before proceeding.
With all that said, home sleep studies are way cheaper than supervised sleep studies, which take place in a medical facility. In-clinic studies generally will run more in the range of $500-$3,000. For this reason, at-home sleep apnea tests are recommended for those on a budget.
Home Sleep Study vs Lab Sleep Study – Which is Better?
There are two basic types of sleep studies – at home studies, and in-lab studies. Each have pros and cons, which we’ll go over below:
Home Sleep Studies:
- More affordable
- Less invasive
- Conducted in the comfort of your home
- Don’t collect as much data as clinic studies
Lab Sleep Studies:
- Collect the most amount of data/the most accurate data
- Supervised by sleep technicians
- Significantly more expensive
- Conducted in a sleep clinic, which may make it more difficult to sleep
How Can I Learn More About Home Sleep Studies?
The next step is to talk to your doctor. Only a medical professional can give you tailored advice based on your specific situation. It’s also a good idea to check with your health insurance provider to see what is covered. If you already have a sleep study scheduled, you can check out this guide to learn what to expect on the night of the sleep study.
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