What is a Home Sleep Test?

Ever had a “Blood Test”?

Well, a “Home Sleep Test” is pretty much similar.

Let me explain further with a story.

You see when you go to your doctor with a problem he asks a raft of questions and often orders a barrage of tests to work out what is wrong with you. One of those tests will usually be a blood test and we have all had one of those. Gives the doctor lots of information to ponder to come up with a diagnosis.

Well, a Home Sleep Test is just another of those tests. Progressive forward-thinking doctors today will often recommend a Home Sleep Test to a patient, especially if they are a new patient.

What is involved in a Home Sleep Test?  Well, you take home a box (looks a bit like a small briefcase) and inside is lots of weird wires and straps and medical looking things. You read the instructions or watch a video on how to put on the Home Sleep Test. You then wear it all for just one single night. That’s right. It’s just a one night test. Bit weird but not bad. A tiny bit uncomfortable maybe but not terrible.

Why do we do it at home? Well, the technology has improved so much in recent years that the home sleep testing technology is almost as good as the stay-in-hospital-overnight sleep study. At Dr. Levi’s Sleep Clinic we use a Home Sleep Testing machine that costs $10,000 to buy and comes from the USA. Dr. Levi himself has met Dan, the actual inventor of the machine, many times in the USA. Additionally, Dr. Levi is ever so proud to tell patients that he has been published in Europe with this Home Sleep Testing technology.

The other reason we do it at home is that there is often an issue with the stay-in-hospital-overnight sleep tests. Maybe the patient can’t get there or they are booked out weeks in advance or worse still, the patient turns up but doesn’t sleep at all. It makes sense that a patient is going to have a “normal/usual” night’s sleep at home in their own comfy usual bed. Not in a strange hospital room bed with strange wires all over them. So the collected data and information is more accurate which is important for diagnosis and analysis.

So we said it’s a one night test. Explained further step by step the following occurs in a Home Sleep Test. You pick up the “box”  (sleep testing machine) and get told how to use it. You go home. You wear it to bed for just the one night. You bring the “box” back. Then the data is sent by computer to the USA where it is interpreted then a massive huge report is sent back to the sleep clinic in Australia where we also re-interpret the information. You then get an appointment with our learned Sleep Physician to discuss the results. Once we have a diagnosis and a list of possible solutions, a report is sent to your GP (general doctor).

Exactly what does this Home Sleep Test tell us? Well, let’s go through the list:

How long you slept for. How much you snored and exactly when and how loud in decibels. What side you slept on meaning on your back, front or left side or right side. Oxygen levels for the whole night. EEG brain wave measurements for the whole night. Pulse and cardiac rhythms for the whole night. How long you slept for. When you were woken up from sleep even microscopically. When you stopped breathing during the night and how often and for how long. Whether you were in light or deep or dreaming REM sleep. How long it took you to go to sleep. Cortical arousals. Leg movements. When you were awake. A lot of technical medical indexes like AHI, RDI, NREM AHI, RERA, apnoea’s, hypopneas. An incredible amount of useful fabulous data all about you and your sleep.

Who are the patients that we mostly see? Well, the GP will often refer patients with one of the following most common issues, we call them the big 5.

  1. Diabetes

2. Cardiac Heart Blood Pressure Issues

3. Carrying a little excess weight

4. Any person complaining of poor sleep

5. Anyone who snores.

What do patients say?  Patients are always blown away by the amount of information they see on the computer at the Sleep Physician appointment after they have done the sleep test. It is visual and makes sense. Occasionally patients comment that “it was not the best night’s sleep ever” but that is understandable. No one really complains about the test. They are appreciative that it is thorough, appreciative that it is at home and even more appreciative that it is all bulk billed including the Sleep Physician appointment so they have nil out of pocket expenses.

Are you diagnosed with sleep apnoea? Book a sleep test now with Dr. Mark Levi.