Should I take a Sleep Test?

Sleep Disorder

If you or your partner have recognised that you have a sleep problem; this could be snoring, waking up choking or gasping, or even waking up in the morning still feeling tired, then these are some of the alert signals that could suggest you might have sleep apnea.

The first step you should take is to talk through your sleeping pattern with your partner or if alone, to record your sleep on your mobile or tablet devices so you can analyse your symptoms. Your sleep partner may notice that in addition to your snoring, there are periods of apnea events which means that you have a period of obstructed breathing. This can be a cause of great concern for your sleep partner who may be fearful that your breathing might not start again.

From this discussion, you may decide that you would like to visit your GP to discuss your symptoms. Unfortunately, going through the NHS means that you have to visit your GP, then get referred to a Sleep Specialist who will then put you on a waiting list for your sleep study. Of course this is an option you might like to consider as it’s free, but when suffering moderate to severe symptoms of sleep apnea, this can be very frustrating as with an insufficient amount of sleep or disturbed sleep, it can begin to have a major impact on your everyday quality of life. However, if you want a quick diagnosis and to be sure that you are given fast results, you can order a private at home study and receive the results normally in about 10-14 days.

Where can I get a Sleep Test from?

Sleep Tests can be performed by the NHS in a sleep laboratory/ward which requires you to stay overnight at hospital with sensors hooked up to various parts of your body. They will then be able to inform you of your diagnosis. However, if you would prefer to take a test in the comfort of your home as you feel this might represent your true sleeping pattern, you are able to purchase a confidential home sleep study test using simple non-invasive equipment which will give you results within less than 2 weeks. The  Simple Oximetry Sleep Test provided by Intus Healthcare monitors your heart rate and blood oxygen levels during sleep through a simple thimble-like sensor on one finger. For clear cases of Sleep Apnoea, this is usually sufficient to confirm the condition. However for less obvious cases (explained in more detail below), it is recommended to take a Detailed Sleep Test that not only records your heart rate and blood oxygen levels during the night, but also your body position, chest resistance, sleep phases and Peripheral Arterial Tone (PAT) to form a more in-depth image of your sleep behaviour, minimising the risk of a false negative (where you have the condition, but the data does not provide sufficient evidence). For the at home tests, there is no need for a referral. You can choose a time that is convenient to you, and in the comfort of your own home. Once you return your sleep study, a written report will be generated by a Sleep Study Specialist and the results will be returned to you normally within 7-14 days.

Two kinds of at home Sleep Tests

You may or may not already be aware that we offer two types of at home sleep tests. We offer the Simple Oximetry Sleep Test and the Detailed Sleep Test.

Sleep Study

So what does a Simple Oximetry Sleep Test involve?

The Simple Oximetry Test works by monitoring your heart rate and blood oxygen levels throughout the night. You will also need to fill in a detailed medical questionnaire. In many cases, the Finger Pulse Oximetry sleep study will be enough to identify Obstructive Sleep Apnea. However, given the relatively high false negative rate, it should only be chosen if Sleep Apnoea is highly probably - in other words, the person is overweight (BMI above 25), suffers from excessive daytime sleeping, and snores heavily. Unless all three apply, the Detailed Sleep Test would be the better option.

So then when is a Detailed Sleep Test required?

A Detailed Sleep Test is required if you would like a detailed analysis of your sleeping behaviour or if you have a BMI under 25, or above 40.  As with the Simple Oximetry Sleep Test, it monitors your blood oxygen levels and your heart rate. However, in addition it also records your body position, body movements, snoring intensity, and crucially your Peripheral Arterial Tone - a key physiological signal that can indicate respiratory disturbances during sleep.. You must also fill in a medical questionnaire.

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  1. Overnight In-Home Finger Pulse Oximetry Sleep Study

    Simple Oximetry In-Home Sleep Test by

    SKU: FPO

    The in-home Simple Oximetry In-Home Sleep Test monitors your heart rate and blood oxygen levels throughout the night. In most cases, this alone is sufficient to identify Obstructive Sleep Apnoea. For those with a BMI under 25, or above 40, then a Detailed Sleep Test would be required instead.
  2. Detailed In-Home Sleep Test

    Detailed In-Home Sleep Test by WatchPAT

    SKU: AC2101200

    If you suspect that you have Obstructive Sleep Apnoea, then an in-home Sleep Study provides a quick, convenient and affordable way to have it confirmed. Our professional in-home service is quick, convenient and confidential. Within two weeks you could be able to begin treatment and enjoying deep, restorative sleep again. All studies are independently analysed by NHS-trained sleep technicians, and use the WatchPAT recording device for unrivalled accuracy.

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