How Accurate Are Home Sleep Apnea Tests?

Spark Sleep Solutions has specialized in sleep apnea and snoring treatments for years, helping thousands of patients over the years. We have credentials from the American Board of Dental Sleep Medicine and the American Sleep & Breathing Academy, which allows us to constantly stay informed with the latest in sleep treatments.

As trusted providers, our patients frequently come to us with various questions related to sleep medicine. One of the most common we get is about home sleep apnea tests.

At-Home Sleep Apnea Tests vs. Lab Sleep Apnea Tests

Sleep apnea tests will involve monitoring your sleep quality overnight to determine if you’re having trouble breathing while asleep. Due to the nature of the tests, patients will usually have two different options for their sleep apnea test: at home or in a lab.

Lab tests will be able to measure more biometrics than at home sleep tests – things like brainwaves, body movement, or other factors to your quality of sleep. At-home sleep tests will usually only measure things like:

  • Breathing patterns
  • Blood oxygen levels
  • Pauses in your breathing

How does a lab sleep apnea test work?

Sleep apnea tests that take place in a lab will involve monitoring by physicians. You’ll usually be asked to spend the night in the lab and will be hooked up to a few different machines. The doctor will monitor these machines to determine your quality of sleep as well as your breathing patterns throughout the night.

How do home sleep apnea tests work?

If you opt for an at-home sleep apnea test, your physician will mail or hand you a small device to monitor your breathing throughout the night. This device will have everything you need for your test, but you’d be responsible for setting it up.

Are At-Home Sleep Apnea Tests Accurate?

At-home sleep apnea tests are considered reliable a majority of the time, but they don’t get as much information as a lab test will. At-home sleep apnea tests only measure and extrapolate the quality of your breathing during sleep, but they’re not measuring the quality of sleep like a lab test would.

There’s also the possibility of a sensor falling off during the middle of the night. At a lab, the physician would just reattach the sensor. At home, you wouldn’t notice.

However, at-home sleep apnea tests are considered a great place to start. If sleep issues persist or the readings don’t seem accurate, your physician and Spark Sleep Solutions will recommend a lab test.

Whether you opt for a home sleep apnea test or opt for a lab test, Spark Sleep Solutions will set you up with one of our partner Bay Area physicians. These physicians are highly skilled and will work with you to get an accurate sleep apnea diagnosis.