Which is Better: Overnight Sleep Study in a Laboratory or Home Sleep Test?

Sleep disorders can bring about several health consequences. These increase your risks of diabetes, hypertension, stroke, hypertension, and even depression.

Obstructive sleep apnea or repeatedly stop and start of breathing during sleep alone affects an estimated 30 million people in the United States. In fact, it is believed that more than 80% of the cases of moderate to severe obstructive sleep apnea is still undiagnosed. This is particularly alarming considering that sleep apnea is linked to chronic diseases such as high blood pressure, diabetes, and heart diseases.

The good news is that sleep apnea, along with other sleep disorders can be diagnosed with the help of a professional. Sleep experts, like a dentist, can diagnose sleep disorders and can prescribe treatments to cure them by conducting a sleep study.

A sleep study can be conducted either in a laboratory or at home. But which is more effective? This article tackles which is better: undergoing a sleep study in a sleep center or at home.

Advantages of In-Lab Sleep Studies

1. Sleep Studies Conducted in a Laboratory For Serious Sleep Conditions

If you are suffering from a serious or severe sleep disorder, you must come to a sleep center for a sleep study.

Those who are suffering from moderate to severe problems need to go to a laboratory as the symptoms of their problems can negatively affect the accuracy of a home sleep test. An overnight sleep diagnostic test uses more advanced monitoring equipment and more sensors to get more accurate observation and data. An in-lab sleep study can measure brain wave activities while a person is lying in bed.

There are also sleep professionals to monitor your progress to ensure that everything is running correctly. These sleep professionals, also known as sleep technicians, make sure that you are following the standard protocol throughout the study.

An in-lab sleep study can diagnose serious and severe sleep disorders. It can gather more accurate data because of its more advanced monitoring equipment, sensors, and sleep technicians.

2. Overnight Sleep Studies in a Laboratory Can Detect Other Sleep Disorders

Overnight sleep studies can diagnose other sleep disorders that a home sleep test cannot. Some people are suffering from more than one sleep disorder. A popular combination is obstructive sleep apnea and restless legs syndrome. These two conditions cannot be differentiated by a home sleep study and require more sensors as well as audio-visual recording to be diagnosed completely.

Sleep disorders such as periodic leg movement disorder, bruxism, narcolepsy, parasomnias, and sleep-related seizure disorders are best identified in a laboratory. A home sleep test cannot record enough accurate and quality data to confirm a sleep disorder diagnosis.

If a sleep specialist suspects that you are suffering from a severe sleep apnea condition, the excellent test for you to undergo is a nocturnal polysomnogram or overnight diagnostic sleep study since it can collect a more detailed data range of your eye movements, brain waves, muscle activities, snoring, and even your body positions. It can also record your brainwave patterns that can help the sleep specialist to identify specific sleep and wake stages.

Overnight sleep studies provide more accurate diagnosis, especially if you are suffering from multiple sleep disorders.

Advantages of Home Sleep Tests

1. Home Sleep Tests Are Cost-Effective.

Home sleep tests are more cost-effective. They cost about a quarter of the price of an in-lab sleep test.

Because of its price, a lot of insurance carriers consider home sleep tests as more cost-effective compared with in-lab sleep studies. Many insurance companies require patients to undergo a home sleep test first before an overnight sleep study in a laboratory.

People who suspect they are suffering from sleep disorders choose home sleep tests because of its cost-effectiveness and lower prices compared to in-lab tests.

2. Sleep Tests Conducted at Home Are More Comfortable

Taking the test in your house, in your own room, allows you to sleep in a more familiar place. Because of it, you feel more comfortable in an environment that you are always sleeping in.

Before you take a home sleep test, a sleep technician or sleep specialist gives you a training on how you can administer the test on your own. A home sleep test requires you to go to sleep and wake-up during your regular sleep and wake up times.

This test monitors your heart rate through sensors that are slipped over your index finger and measures your oxygen levels. Another set of sensors are also strapped to your chest along with a small tube placed in your nostrils to measure the amount of air that you breathe through your nose. However, these sensors can only provide measurements and not a diagnosis. To read and interpret the data gathered, you need to set an appointment with a sleep professional to provide you the diagnosis and possible treatments.

Home sleep studies are more comfortable and convenient since these tests are conducted in your room. However, these tests can only provide measurements, and you still need to see a sleep specialist to get a proper diagnosis.

Both the overnight sleep study in a laboratory and the home sleep test have their own advantages. What is better for you depends on the situation that you have.

If you suspect that you are suffering from mild sleep disorders with no other significant issues, a home sleep testing is recommended. It is considered more cost-effective and comfortable since it is administered at home. However, when it comes to accuracy in diagnosing sleep disorders, an overnight sleep study in a laboratory is recommended. If you think you are suffering from moderate to severe sleep disorders or even multiple ones, an in-lab sleep study can provide more data that can diagnose even combination disorders.