In the past, this meant spending the night in a “sleep lab”, hooked up to a series of machines while strangers observed you sleep. Not only did this lead to an uncomfortable evening, the unfamiliar environment could significantly affect the results of the test.
Fortunately, technology has led to the development of home sleep testing. Now, the process of gathering information about your sleep can be done while you sleep comfortably in your own bed.
How Does Home Sleep Testing Work?
Your dentist and sleep apnea specialist will provide you with a small machine that you’ll wear when you go to sleep for the night. They will instruct you to avoid any type of sleep medications, as well as alcohol or caffeine, on the day of your test. The next day, you’ll return the device to our office where the results can be downloaded and analyzed.
Based on this data, a determination will be made as to whether or not you suffer from sleep apnea, and if so, the seriousness of your condition.
What Sleep Testing Measures
The device you wear will measure:
If you stop breathing during sleep, as well as how often and for how long
If your breathing is partially blocked
Your blood oxygen levels
According to the Apnea Hypopnea Index (AHI), five or more episodes of stopped breathing during sleep indicate that you suffer from sleep apnea. (Less than five episodes per hour is considered normal.) Our sleep apnea specialist will also examine your blood oxygen levels, to determine how much oxygen your body receives while sleeping.
If the diagnosis of sleep apnea is confirmed, we’ll need to determine the seriousness of your condition. If your sleep apnea ranges from mild to moderate, your dentist may be able to prescribe an oral appliance to wear while sleeping that will help. For more severe cases, our sleep apnea specialist will outline additional options for treatment, and guide you as to the next steps.