Sleep apnea can be stressful and even frightening for the person who suffers from it. Waking up suddenly with breathing problems may be so traumatic that the individual may become fearful of falling asleep in case it happens again. Unfortunately, apnea-plagued sleep may not be very restful, so it’s common for apnea sufferers to wake up feeling groggy and tired, rather than refreshed and rejuvenated.
This condition can be problematic for family members, as well. When a spouse or other loved one has trouble breathing while sleeping, it may cause distress for family members. It may be especially traumatic for young children to know a parent is struggling to breathe. In addition, people who are being robbed of sleep by this condition may be distracted, irritable and tired, which may make interactions with them challenging.
Many cases of sleep apnea are undiagnosed because people are hesitant to undergo a sleep study in a hospital or outpatient medical facility. Reasons for this may vary — some people fear that they won’t be able to fall asleep or that the monitoring system will be intrusive while others worry about being away from home and family overnight.
Advantages of At-Home Tests for Sleep Apnea
At-home tests for sleep apnea are relatively recent innovations. They have piqued the interest of many people because they offer an entirely new kind of sleep study:
The comfort and familiarity of home
Some people avoid travelling because there’s simply no place like home. They may avoid having a sleep study for the same reason. For people who have difficulty falling asleep anywhere other than their own beds, at-home sleep study kits allow them to find out if they have sleep apnea without spending a night away from home.
When people are very modest or private, they may view a sleep study as potentially embarrassing. With an at-home sleep study kit, there’s no need to endure having a nurse or technician attach leads or other types of monitoring device to the body.
For many people, undergoing a traditional sleep study means fighting against their internal clock. They may feel pressured to fall asleep by a certain time or wake up at a particular hour. At-home sleep study kits eliminate that problem. They allow the individual to stick to a normal routine and just activate the system when sleep is on its way.
Some people prefer to fall asleep with a light on. Others rest more comfortably in complete darkness. With an at-home sleep study kit, there’s no need to worry about what the conditions will be like at a sleep testing facility.
What to Expect
At-home sleep study tests may vary depending on how much data the doctor decides to collect. In some cases, an at-home sleep study takes one night. In other cases, it may be done over the course of two or three nights.
At-home study test kits are simple devices. One requires the individual to wear a device similar to a wristwatch, which is connected to a small monitoring device. The monitoring device is placed on the finger, similar to a pulse oximeter patients wear in the hospital. In another model, the individual attaches monitoring devices to specific spots on the body to facilitate data collection.
In some cases, a doctor or sleep center may send a patient home with a sleep study equipment to do an at-home study. In other cases, the doctor may order a home sleep study kit to be sent to the patient by mail. Some physicians, having tried a variety of home-testing apnea kits, prefer a specific company or type of kit. Others may give the patient choices about the type of kit to be used.
With a doctor’s prescription, a patient may order an at-home sleep directly, as well. Many companies, including O2Connection, Aviisha and 1800cpap.com offer this option. These options may or may not be covered by insurance, so patients should check with their insurance company prior to placing the order.
It is important to emphasize the fact that patients return the testing equipment to the companies after the testing is completed. This is one factor that makes it possible for providers of at-home sleep testing kits to keep the costs low.
At-home sleep tests offer patients an entirely new way to conduct sleep studies. By eliminating the need to spend the night in a sleep testing center, these tests encourage people, who resists the idea of having a sleep study, to finally agree to do so. After diagnosing sleep apnea in a given patient, a physician can design a treatment plan.
Treating sleep apnea can change a patient’s entire life. With treatment, the individual will sleep better and feel more rested during waking hours. As a result, this person will likely notice an increase in productivity, concentration and even overall feelings of well-being. At the same time, depression, negativity and other problems that can arise from lack of sleep will likely begin to abate.