Your Healthy Family: Is a home sleep test right for you? - KOAA.com | Continuous News | Colorado Springs and Pueblo

Your Healthy Family: Is a home sleep test right for you?

If you snore and are otherwise healthy, what's the next stop to stop your snoring? If you snore and are otherwise healthy, what's the next stop to stop your snoring?

If you snore and think you are otherwise healthy, Dr. Tim Rummel a Board Certified Sleep Physician with UCHealth Memorial Sleep Center and Pulmonary Associates, says your first step to stop snoring can be trying simple fixes like not sleeping on your back, raising the head of the bed, or using Breathe Right strips.  You can also lose a few pounds or make sure your allergies are under control.  

If your snoring persists the next step should be to look into it with a doctor for an official diagnosis and make sure your snoring isn’t a sign of bigger health problems.   

Dr. Rummel says oftentimes seeking a diagnosis will likely involve a sleep test of some kind.  "I think the people that really need a sleep study, are number one are the folks that are not just snoring, but also having symptoms that might be attributed to sleep apnea.  Their sleep isn’t very restful, their sleep is interrupted, or their bed partner sees them stopping breathing, or they are excessively tired during the day."

There are generally two kinds of sleep studies at a doctor’s disposal.  An in lab sleep test involves spending the night in a sleep lab, that is a combination of a hotel room and hospital room, or a home sleep test you can do in the comfort of your own bed.

Dr. Rummel says, "You know a home study is awfully useful, if the only thing you are concerned about is obstruct sleep apnea.  Probably 70%t of the time you can get all the information you need from a home study."

When it comes to treating snoring, the best practice is to always begin with a diagnosis from sleep doctor.  Depending on the results of your sleep study an oral appliance can be one option a sleep doctor can prescribe for snoring or mild to moderate sleep apnea.

Dr. Christina Cairns, DDS with Colorado Springs Snoring and Sleep Apnea Solutions specializes in oral appliances.  No matter how anyone describes their health, health history or their snoring, she always uses a home sleep test to screen her patients to make sure all health concerns are on the table.  Dr. Cairns says it’s always best practice when there are any signs of anything beyond snoring or mild apnea to refer her patients to a sleep doctor before determining the next step.   

Dr. Cairns says, "I would leave it up to a board certified physician to decide if they need a home sleep test or an in lab sleep test depending on a person’s health history, and some of the issues they may be dealing with in addition to snoring or sleep apnea."

A home sleep study comes in small case complete with all the equipment and instructions you need.  You use medical tape you attach a microphone to your forehead to record snoring.  A nasal cannula rests on your upper lip to measure airflow.  The home study data recorder is mounted on a chest strap there is also a strap that goes around your abdomen.  The chest strap and abdomen strap monitor how your chest and stomach move as your breath while you sleep.  A a pulse oximeter goes on your finger tip that measures your blood oxygen levels.  Once you have everything in place fair to say your not going to win any sleeping beauty contests, and it looks a little weird but your are able to sleep as you normally would in your own bed.

Dr. Rummel says trying to rest in an environment you are use to can be easier..  "You sleep in your own bed and oftentimes folks sleep better in their own home.”  In the morning you wake up, and remove all the straps and tape, then “you bring it back the next day we download all the information."

Next week in our “Snoring Monday” YHF series we'll explain what happens when you have an in-lab sleep test and tell you about the results of a home sleep test I took in my quest to stop snoring at night.

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