Question: Went for a sleep study and because of all the wires and the smell of glue from the probes attached to my head couldn't sleep and left without results. I sincerely think that I do have sleep apnea and my PCP is concerned. Any options to avoid the test?
Dr. Sesso: Ron, thank you for your question. Have you considered a home sleep study? I believe this is an excellent option for you and a viable alternative to in-lab sleep studies.
Historically, sleep studies have been performed in labs or hospitals. There are patients who are comfortable with in-lab tests and there are patients who are uncomfortable with it or inconvenienced by it. Some patients just don’t have the time to commit to an overnight stay, others have physical limitations that prevent them from going to a lab, and there are those who just can’t fall asleep comfortably in an unfamiliar environment. In the past, patients did not have another option. This is changing now that home sleep studies have become more widely available.
There are advantages to doing a sleep test at home. Home sleep tests can be conducted in the comfort of your own bedroom. They are easier to perform, more comfortable, less expensive and require less equipment attached to your body. Moreover, there aren’t any sticky electrodes, gels, or glues. Patients report that sleeping in their own bed also relieves anxiety and gives a more accurate picture of a typical night's sleep.
A home sleep study still involves your sleep specialist who will need to give you the necessary equipment and a tutorial to use it correctly. No need to worry, setting up the equipment at home only takes a few minutes. The next day, return the equipment and your sleep data will be analyzed.
Don't be discouraged if you’ve had difficulty with the in-lab sleep test. Many patients have expressed the same concern and found the home sleep study to be more tolerable and less intrusive. Hopefully, home sleep studies will eliminate some of the barriers that prevent people from being tested for sleep apnea.
Dr. Donald M. Sesso, the Director of The Pennsylvania Snoring and Sleep Institute, is the only triple certified snoring doctor in the tri-state area. He specializes in the surgical treatment of obstructive sleep apnea and sinus disorders and is a Board Certified ENT Otolaryngologist in Head and Neck Surgery, Facial Plastic Surgery, and Sleep Medicine.