Any kind of sleep testing can absolutely make you feel overwhelmed. Should I do a lab study? What about home sleep tests? Where can I get information? What are my options?
We’re here to tell you that it doesn’t have to be all that daunting. In fact, home sleep tests are often the more cost-effect and convenient option for those who may be suffering from obstructive sleep apnea, or OSA--a common sleep disorder affecting millions every year.
In order to help you down the right path to better sleep, we’ve compiled a list of the 6 facts you should absolutely know before pursuing a home sleep test:
1. You Do Need a Doctor’s Prescription
Like most medical tests, you need a doctor’s prescription in order to get a home sleep test if you want it covered through insurance. This process can be tricky, and your insurance provider is always going to be more interested in the bottom line than getting you treatments you may need, especially if you are only suffering “mild” side effects.
However, you can absolutely get the home sleep testing you need if you go outside of insurance and take the steps that you feel are right for your health. Providers like ApneaMed work with you so you can get the testing required to start sleeping better. There are several options you should consider before committing to a provider or a testing solution, so be sure to do your research.
2. It’s More Cost-Effective Than a Lab Study
While in-lab sleep tests are more detailed and look for other sleep disorders that are more challenging to diagnose, the exorbitant cost can be a big deterrent, especially for those who exhibit clear signs of sleep apnea. The average in-lab sleep study can run between $2,000 and $4,000, which is not an option for many who may still need testing.
Home sleep tests are known to be significantly cheaper, roughly one-third to one-fifth the cost of traditional sleep studies, even with insurance. Choosing to take a home sleep test can get you the diagnosis you need to sleep better without having to spend so much money.
3. You Get to Sleep in Your Own Bed
Those undergoing a traditional in-lab sleep study should prepare themselves for a pretty uncomfortable night--possibly two if clinicians don’t capture all the data they need. Dozens of nodes and wires get attached to the participant and it can make for a very frustrating experience, especially if you are fairly certain of your condition beforehand.
The at-home sleep study is a simple monitor you wear for one night that tracks your breathing and provides accurate data to help diagnose apnea events throughout the night. You sleep in your own bed and control your surroundings, making for a much more positive experience.
4. You Can Get Results From One Night of Sleep
A HST comes with several pieces of equipment that you will be able to wear and use easily. Included with the unit is a portable sleep data monitor, a heart rate sensor, a nasal cannula, and a chest strap. Along with the unit, you’ll get a set of detailed instructions so you can ensure you are wearing the unit correctly and that it will effectively record your sleep behaviors and biometric data.
User error can cause problems with a home sleep test, so it’s imperative that you review the instructions carefully or contact your provider’s customer care or support representatives. If you follow the instructions carefully, you should have no problems with your home sleep test.
5. Your Results Are Read By a Board-Certified Sleep Physician
You do not need to do an in-lab sleep study to have your results read by a board-certified sleep physician. But, if you do choose to do an in-lab study, it could take several weeks, or even months, to get your results back because of all the extra data they analyze. Home sleep tests, in comparison, have a much faster turnaround time and your results will still get interpreted by a sleep specialist.
After you mail back your testing unit, you’ll get a diagnosis and have one of your provider’s patient care representatives contact you. They will review your HST results and review your treatment options if you are diagnosed with sleep apnea. This analysis and results process can take between 10-14 business days, so you know that you’ll start getting your treatment sooner rather than later.
6. HST Results Will Help You Get Treatment That’s Right For You
After you hear back from your provider’s patient care representatives, you can contact your doctor or your sleep testing provider to review your treatment options. Within sleep apnea treatments, continuous positive airway pressure (CPAP) and automatic positive airway pressure (AutoPAP) treatments are the most effective and most common.
Depending on your severity or specific sleep problems, other options like dental devices or surgery may be right for you. Once you begin treatment, it’s common to start feeling better rested and aware because you are now getting the restful sleep you need.
The process of securing a prescription for a CPAP, BiPAP, or APAP machine can appear overwhelming, but through the easy process of a home sleep test, and consistently using your CPAP equipment, your quality of sleep will dramatically improve as will your quality of life. The risk factors of untreated sleep apnea can be frightening, but securing the treatment that is right for you can make all the difference.