Are you worried about your quality of sleep? Do you suspect you may be suffering from some type of sleep disorder? There are a variety of sleep problems that rob people of precious sleep every night. Lack of sleep can affect your quality of life if it becomes chronic and if left untreated.
Sleep apnea is a common sleep disorder that affects millions of people. It can be diagnosed through expensive lab tests, but can also be tested at home with a sleep apnea test and a home sleep study.
Try this sleep apnea test If you think you may have sleep apnea. You may then be prescribed a home sleep study by your doctor to determine which type of sleep apnea you have to get you on an appropriate treatment plan.
What Is Sleep Apnea?
First of all, you have to know what sleep apnea is. You may suspect that you have a sleeping disorder if you are not sleeping well, are waking up tired, and regularly feel groggy throughout the day.
Sleep apnea is a condition where you stop or pause your breathing pattern while you sleep. This pause can be anywhere between 10 seconds to 30 seconds. Sleep apnea is sometimes accompanied by snoring or other noises from the throat or nose when breathing resumes.
There are different types of sleep apnea and it’s important to know which type you are suffering from to get the appropriate treatment plan.
Obstructive sleep apnea (OSA) is the most common form of sleep apnea. This is when your soft tissues relax when you fall asleep and slide down to block your airway. Your tongue may obstruct your breathing and cause you to snore, and in the case of OSA, pause your breathing.
Another type of sleep apnea is central sleep apnea (CSA), where your brain forgets to send signals to your lungs to regulate your breathing pattern while you sleep.
We know this may sound alarming, but sleep apnea is not usually life-threatening. What is concerning is the possible health issues like heart failure and stroke that sleep apnea may bring about, and that may lead to serious health problems.
How to Deal With Sleep Apnea?
Sleep apnea is not curable, but it is controllable with a variety of options. The most common treatment plan for sleep apnea is positive airway pressure (PAP) therapy. These are machines that deliver pressurized air while you sleep. These include the CPAP, BIPAP, and APAP machines that have been proven to reduce sleep apnea episodes.
Other options that may help are nasal expiratory positive airway pressure (EPAP) bands that are applied to the nose while you sleep to help regulate breathing.
Your doctor will determine what treatment plan is best for you. But while you wait for your doctor’s appointment you can try to find out if you have sleep apnea or not.
Do I Have Sleep Apnea? Sleep Apnea Test
Sleep disorders like sleep apnea are quite common, and it’s essential to pinpoint what you are suffering from in order to find the proper treatment or course of action that is right for you.
But how do you know if you have sleep apnea? Answer these simple questions to find out if you possibly suffer from this sleep disorder.
1. Has your partner noticed that you occasionally stop breathing while you sleep?
2. Do you sometimes wake up coughing or have a feeling of choking at night?
3. Do you suffer from any of these?
4. Do you have any of these physical features?
5. Do you have any of these symptoms?
Headaches in the morning
6. Do you suffer (or have you experienced) from any of these medical conditions?
Congestive heart failure
Diabetes (type 2)
Coronary artery disease
High blood pressure
Chances are you are at grips with sleep apnea if you checked at least twelve boxes and especially if your answer is “yes” on the first question and “regularly” on the second.
It’s probably time to speak with your doctor, who will decide what to do next. Depending on any existing medical conditions or health issues you may have, the next step is usually to refer you to a sleep specialist or decide to prescribe you a sleep study.
What Is a Sleep Study?
It’s important to observe your sleep patterns and evaluate what is keeping you from getting restful sleep. A sleep study is usually performed in a lab where you are hooked up to machines and specialized technicians monitor your sleep.
Everything is monitored and recorded, including your snoring, heart rate, temperature, movements, and any irregular breathing patterns that occur while you sleep. The data recovered will be valuable to prescribe the appropriate treatment that will help relieve you of your sleep apnea.
Can I do a Sleep Study at Home?
It used to be that a sleep study could only be conducted in a sleep lab with sleep specialists. That has changed in the last few years. There are now readily available sleep studies that you can do in the comfort of your own home.
Doctors observed that some patients could not sleep while hooked up to machines, all the while being watched by strangers. This made for some incorrect diagnosis’ and sometimes none at all. The patient has to be relaxed and sleep as they would normally in their own bed for the study to be effective.
Now you can do a sleep study at home, in the comfort of your own bedroom, with a prescription from your doctor. They are monitors that you wear while you sleep that accumulate information about your breathing and oxygen levels. They are not as thorough as in-lab sleep studies, but if your doctor suspects that you don’t have any other complications or health issues, a home sleep study may be just what you need.
Facts About Home Sleep Study
Prescribed or Not
You need a prescription from a sleep specialist or your doctor if you plan to process the sleep study through your insurance company. You may choose to do it on your own and order a test kit online and have it delivered to your home, but the cost of the test will not be covered.
Home sleep studies use monitors to measure oxygen levels and breathing patterns. These can be sensors attached to your abdomen and chest (or a strap containing the sensors) that observe your breathing, a probe on your finger, and a nose tube similar to an oxygen mask.
Advantages of Home Sleep Studies
They are much less costly then sleep studies done in sleep labs with machines and technicians.
A home sleep study is much more comfortable than a sleep study where you are not in your own bed and are in an unfamiliar environment.
Typically, home sleep studies take less time to evaluate than in-lab sleep studies. You get your results quickly and can get on a treatment plan immediately.
You can decide when you want to do the home sleep study and not have to wait for an appointment in a sleep lab.
At-home sleep studies like The Alice NightOne home sleep testing device are designed to help you get you your sleep study quickly and efficiently.
It’s time to see your doctor after you have taken the sleep apnea test and suspect you may suffer from sleep apnea. This condition can be controlled, and you can finally get some restful sleep back into your life.
Talk to your doctor about having a less expensive and less invasive home sleep study. He will determine if you are a good candidate or not to monitor your sleep and breathing from your own bed.
You and your partner will both benefit if you are sleeping more soundly without breathing interruptions.