A sleep study is a diagnostic test that can be done either at home or at a sleep clinic. The severity of your symptoms will dictate whether you have to wait for a sleep study at a clinic or whether you can have a sleep study at home. The equipment used in a clinic will differ majorly to the equipment used in a home sleep study – for more details on both home sleep study equipment and sleep clinic sleep study equipment, take a look below.
Equipment to Expect at a Sleep Clinic
In a sleep clinic, there are far more bits of equipment than at a home study. In the sleep clinic, the first thing that the clinician will attach you to is several gold-capped electrodes. These electrodes will be placed on your scalp and face once the clinician has marked the position for them and they are designed to measure your brain wave activity during sleep. These electrodes do not contain needles and are relatively comfortable for you to wear. Some of these electrodes may also be taped in place.
Sticky pads will also be attached to your chest in order to monitor your heart rhythm and activity. Additional sticky pads may also be attached to your legs and arms to monitor any movements you may make with your body whilst asleep.
You can also expect to have stretchy cloth bands around your chest and your stomach to measure your breathing; the depth of your breathing, how often you breathe and when you stop breathing.
Just before going to sleep, the clinician will put a nasal cannula in your nose – this does not give you oxygen, but it will measure airflow. Some labs will also use a thermistor, which is a pronged wire that sits in the nostrils and measures differences in temperature.
Not all laboratories will use all of the above equipment, but most of it is standard in sleep clinic sleep studies.
Equipment to Expect at a Home Study
Although home studies can be very useful for diagnosing sleep apnea and other sleep disorders, the information gathered isn’t as thorough as the information gathered from a clinical study. Also, the equipment that you get will alter depending on who you buy the sleep study from. A few of the best home sleep study companies are listed below.
www.britishsnoring.co.uk – one unit which compromises of the machine that gathers the information, tubes that sit in your nostrils, and a clip that attaches to your finger. This unit measures a number of things that a clinical study measures, such as blood oxygen saturation, heart rate and pulse, body movement, body position, oral and nasal airflow, snoring sound wave and other data, and CPAP pressure if necessary. The machine is available from http://www.britishsnoring.co.uk/home_sleep_study.php for £235.00 and the manufacturers will contact your GP for you to discuss the results.
www.sleep-study.co.uk – Finger Pulse Oximetry Sleep Study – this study is the least invasive of the lot, compromising of a machine worn around the wrist that attaches to a clip worn on the finger. It costs £99.00 and has stellar reviews online. Buy it from http://www.sleep-study.co.uk/finger-pulse-oximetry.html.
If you’re worried about sleep apnea or any other sleep disorder and you feel like you cannot wait to be referred onto a sleep clinic, speak to your doctors and your insurance company to see what options there are for home studies. In some areas, home studies are not possible, but in others, home studies are widely available, so it’s always worth checking.