If you have sleep issues due to possible obstructive sleep apnea (OSA), it is important to have a home sleep apnea test. Traditionally, a clinical sleep test involves traveling to a sleep center, getting in your pajamas, crawling into a strange bed, getting hooked up to wires and machines, being watched by technicians, all without your favorite pillow and blanket and furry friends from home. Now, try to get a bit of shut eye so the sleep technicians can assess whatís wrong and why youíre having trouble sleeping. Anyone with sleep issues sees the problem here and is wide awake just thinking about how unrestful it must be to try laboratory sleep testing.
Try Home Sleep Testing
You live at home, not the sleep center. So a much more practical technique is to study you where you sleep, in your own bed, with all the comforts of home. This is possible with the development of home sleep testing devices, also called home polysomnography (H-PSG). Sleep studies examined by Sleep Medicine Reviews demonstrate that H-PSGs create a more realistic setting that still provides results useful to sleep professionals. No more tossing and turning in a strange bed, wondering if anyone is laughing at your Hello Kitty sweatpants.
The dentists at the Marconi Dental Group can provide you with all the take home equipment necessary to do your own sleep study in your own bed. We refer you to a specialist you provides the necessary training, a small device to analyze your sleeping patters and a wish for a good nightís sleep. After you return the device, the results are downloaded and analyzed. We canít read your dreams, but we can tell what your sleep schedule is like, how many times you wake up during the night, and how much quality sleep your are getting (or not getting). If you have sleep apnea, we can categorize your case as mild, moderate or severe.
What Polysomnography Measures
A home sleep test to see if you suffer from sleep apnea looks for two different sleeping episodes:
- If and when you stopping breathing while sleeping (an apnea episode).
- If and when your breathing is partially blocked (a hypopnea episode).
Knowing how frequently during a typical sleep period these episodes happen in your normal surroundings is vital for your wellbeing. Your results are then compared to the Apnea Hypopnea Index (AHI). Less than five of either of these episodes in one hour is considered normal. If you are having five or more episodes per hour, your condition is considered sleep apnea. Using this data, your condition of sleep apnea is rated in severity:
- Mild is from 5 to 15 episodes per hour,
- Moderate is from 15 to 30 episodes per hour,
- Severe Sleep Apnea is 30 or more episodes per hour.
Sleep Apnea and Blood Oxygen Levels
Another very important aspect of your sleep testing is the measurement of your blood oxygen levels during sleep. A normal percentage for oxygen levels in the blood is 96% or above. When your airway is blocked, even for short episodes, your blood oxygen levels are sometimes drastically affected. With your home sleep test results, it can be determined how serious this problem is:
- Mild is oxygen levels not less than 90%,
- Moderate is oxygen levels not less than 80%,
- Severe is blood oxygen desaturation to less than 80%.
If you are experiencing sleep apnea, your sleep is not only being disrupted repeatedly at night, but youíre also not getting enough oxygen. No wonder you wake up exhausted, unprepared to face the day!
Before Your Test
We want to get a clear picture of your sleep patterns, without the aids or hindrances of sleeping pills or alcohol, herbs to help you relax or caffeine that keeps you up. Refraining from all substances that affect your sleep is necessary to determine what exactly is causing your sleep issues.
Solving Sleep Apnea
A simple oral appliance from the Marconi Dental Group can treat mild to moderate forms of sleep apnea. Sleeping with this device greatly enhances the amount of restful sleep you get, and lets you start the day with vim and vigor. For severe or certain cases of sleep apnea, the professionals at the Marconi Dental Group will outline your options to get back the restful nights and energetic days you crave. This may involve correcting your dentition with orthodontics, as some forms of malocclusion contribute to blocked airways.
Sleep apnea is not just an annoyance, it is a health issue that impacts your whole life. Please make an appointment soon to get your apnea identified and resolved, so you can get the sweet sleep you deserve!