Sleep Studies: At-Home vs. In-Lab

If you have been diagnosed with Obstructive Sleep Apnea, or even if you think that you might have it, you may be thinking about a sleep study. A sleep study can confirm your suspicions and provide valuable information for treating it. At Poss Sleep Apnea &  TMJ Solutions in Brentwood TN, sleep apnea is one of our specialties.

The first thing to know about sleep studies is that they aren’t like, say, a pregnancy test that you can pick up at the drug store. In a typical case, a primary care physician will recommend it, and refer you to a specialist.

Obstructive sleep apnea is a serious condition in which breathing is disrupted during sleep. Because it reduces oxygen to the brain, it can lead to serious health issues.

Sleep Labs

Most communities have sleep labs, and most of these have two options: a sleep study conducted in a lab, and a home sleep study. The differences between these sound self-evident, but we’ll explain it a little further.

  • In-Lab Sleep Studies. As the name implies, these sleep studies are done in a lab. The patient is connected to a series of monitors. In-lab testing are monitored by technicians and result in a thorough assessment of the patient’s issues. The data collected include brain waves, muscle tone, and leg movement.
  • Home Sleep Studies. At-home sleep studies are simplified versions of the in-lab version. The patient is connected to a tiny monitor that collects and stores some of the same data, which is later evaluated by a technician.

For each test, small probes are gently clipped over the patient’s finger; these measure oxygen levels. A mask with tubes into the nostrils is worn. Additional sensors go around the chest and abdomen.

At-home studies have some drawbacks. One or more sensors may come off during the night, but you won’t know it since you’re asleep. If symptoms persist following an at-home test, your doctor may want you to do an in-lab study.

Sleep apnea is a fairly common condition, and an accurate diagnosis is the first step to treating it. Poss Sleep Apnea & TMJ Solutions in Brentwood TN specializes in sleep apnea treatment. If you think that you, or someone close to you, has sleep apnea, please contact us today!