Sleep Apnea and At-Home Sleep Studies

Sleep apnea is a sleep disorder in which breathing is weak or breathing completely stops. There are two types. In obstructive sleep apnea, the tongue, soft palate, or tonsils collapse onto the back of the throat during sleep. In central sleep apnea, the brain’s signal instructing the body to inhale isn’t transmitted correctly. In either case, oxygen flow is weak or stops entirely. Symptoms include:

  • Sudden waking
  • Snoring
  • Chronic fatigue
  • Daytime sleepiness
  • Morning headaches
  • Restless sleep

Long-term effects of untreated sleep apnea include:

  • High blood pressure
  • Heart disease
  • Stroke
  • Diabetes
  • Depression

If your ENT physician suspects you’re experiencing sleep apnea, they might recommend an at-home sleep study. This involves wearing a simple-to-use, comfortable monitor on your head that measures breathing rate, oxygen levels, and brain waves while you sleep to determine whether your breathing is obstructed and what might be the cause. Depending on your situation, your physician might recommend one night, or several. Unlike a lab-based sleep study, this option minimizes the disruption to your schedule and home life.