In-Home Sleep Test

In today’s “social distancing” environment, in-home sleep testing is the preferred alternative.  It also promotes collaboration between your physician and your sleep dentists. In the event your tests detect that you have sleep apnea, then your Sleep Tonight dentist has the resources needed to help you get reimbursed by your health insurance company.  In some cases, your Sleep Tonight sleep dentist will be able to get paid directly by the carrier with little to no payment for the patient.  

 

According to the director of the Johns Hopkins Sleep Medicine Program, a home sleep apnea test is a very simplified breathing monitor that tracks your breathing, oxygen levels, and breathing effort while worn. It does not fully capture what is monitored with an overnight sleep study.  (Note:  with Coronavirus social distancing concerns, an overnight sleep study is not an option), 

Here are some facts about at-home sleep tests:  

  • They monitor breathing, not actual sleep.

  • “A sleep test is meant to evaluate a patient for sleep apnea, and it monitors breathing parameters, not the sleep itself,” Patil says. The sleep test won’t analyze how long you’re in light or deep sleep, for instance. Instead, it will measure pauses in and absence of breathing, how much effort it takes to breathe and whether your breathing is shallow.

  • Your doctor needs to prescribe it.  (Note: this is what enables your sleep dentist to receive reimbursement from your health  insurance company). 

  • It’s a small commitment.

  • Most at-home sleep tests are used just for one night. It’s usually a third to a fifth of the cost of doing an in-lab (sleep clinic)  study, and it’s typically covered by insurance. 

  • It’s convenient 

  • With an at-home study, you’ll be in the comfort of your own surroundings, which could offer a more accurate reading of how you actually sleep. 

  • This isn’t an over-the-counter test. Your primary care physician or a physician at a sleep clinic can order it to be taken home.

  • It uses sensors to detect breathing patterns.

  • The sensors include a small probe over your finger that measures oxygen levels. You’ll insert another mask with tubes into your nostrils and secure it around your ears, similar to an oxygen mask. Other sensors are placed on your abdomen and chest to measure their rise and fall as you breathe.

  • After the test, your results will be reviewed by a sleep technologist and sent to your physician. If symptoms persist, your physician might recommend an in-lab study. 

  • It doesn’t completely rule out apnea.

  • You might have other sleep issues.

  • Not all sleep disorders are caused by breathing trouble. If your symptoms persist, you might not have apnea. Other common sleep issues that don’t affect the airways include movement disorders that cause nighttime restlessness or narcolepsy, a neurological disorder that affects the body’s sleep-wake cycles and causes excessive sleepiness. Your physician can work with you to pinpoint the cause.

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