Many people struggle with sleep problems. Reasons can be anything from anxiety to diet but a sleep disorder such as sleep apnea could be causing the feeling of not having rested even after a full night’s sleep. Sleep apnea can be characterized by loud snoring, headaches, and daytime tiredness and it is important to diagnose it early as it can become a serious challenge if left unaddressed. If you’ve been diagnosed with a sleep disorder, your doctor may recommend or prescribe an overnight sleep study to assess your quality of sleep. Your two options are to complete an in-lab polysomnography (PSG) or a home sleep study (HST). This article will discuss the benefits and drawbacks of each option.
In-lab sleep studies involve the patient sleeping in a lab, hooked up to all sorts of monitoring equipment. This type of study is used when there are concerns about the quality or quantity of sleep, and it helps researchers get a good idea about what might be going on with any given patient’s sleep cycle. It also allows for more accurate results because patients don’t have to worry about factors like noise from outside sources that may effect their ability to get a deep night’s rest. However, some people feel uncomfortable being confined in a small space while they’re trying to get some shut eye. There is also the issue of cost – an in-lab study can be very expensive and not everyone has access to this type of professional care. For these reasons, many people choose to do an at-home sleep study.
An at-home sleep study is just what it sounds like – the patient sleeps in their own bed and all of the monitoring equipment is sent to them. This type of study is often used when there are fewer concerns about the quality or quantity of sleep, but researchers want to track things like snoring, sleep apnea, and how long it takes a person to fall asleep. At-home studies are much less expensive than in-lab studies, and they’re more comfortable for people who feel uncomfortable sleeping in a strange place. However, there is the potential for inaccuracy if patients don’t follow all of the instructions they’re given for the study. For example, if a patient doesn’t keep their cell phone on silent during the night or they don’t use any of the equipment provided to them, data may be skewed and not useful in terms of providing an accurate diagnosis.
The decision to choose which type of sleep study is right for you depends on the level of severity, your medical history, and other factors. At-home sleep studies can be expensive but they have many advantages over lab tests. Lab-based testing has its benefits too so it’s important to weigh both options before making a decision. For those looking for an affordable option with less risk of inaccuracy in data, at home sleep study may be best suited for them given these pros and cons. Talk to your doctor about your options and start working towards a good sleep today.