Relax! If you have never done a sleep apnea test, and are not totally sure if you have sleep apnea, you don't have to look like the gentleman on the left! NOT YET! He is pretty sure he has apnea so the sleep clinic let him test at home with bulky lab equipments. For you, you may do some DIY small tests first.

Sleep Apnea Test at clinic is inconvenient

If you just want to know if it is worth an official sleep apnea test at the sleep disorder clinic, you could do some self administrating tests at home first. These are reliable and cheap methods to see if you possibly have sleep apnea. 

After all, a sleepover at a clinical setting doesn't sound fun. When I did it, the first time I barely slept at all, and I had to urinate so often the sleep technologist was upset with me. I usually slept during the day and woke up at night. It was problematic for me. I suspected I might have circadian rhythm sleep disorder, but the sleep doctor couldn't explain what was wrong with me. Needless to say, I had to do another sleep test. I got only two hours of sleeps the second time and that was enough for them to diagnose me with severe sleep apnea.

Cheap Gadget for Sleep Apnea Home Test

The device on your left is a pulse oximeter. It is 100% as accurate as the hospital monitor for your pulse rate and oxygen content in the blood (SpO2). It has an auditory alarm to warn you when your oxygen level is too low. 

If your SpO2 level is lower than 95 it is considered low. If your SpO2 is lower than 90 during sleep, it is very likely because of sleep apnea, and a formal sleep apnea test is in order.

The oximeter is non-invasive and contrary to its appearance, it doesn't pinch your finger tip.  

Another way to see if you have sleep apnea is to have someone watching you sleep. Does she see pauses in your breathing? Do you breath with your mouth instead of nostrils? Do you choke, snort, or gasp often? These are very telling clues. Or you could use a camcorder to record yourself, which I did. 

Many people assume that if you are not obese and don't snore, then you don't have sleep apnea. This is misleading. Some people, such as myself, suffer the condition because of malocclusion. Most people have some degree of malocclusion, but only a sleep test can definitely tell if it is problematic enough to cause sleep apnea. If your tongue cannot rest properly in the mouth due to limited space, the chance of your tongue blocking the airway when your throat and tongue muscles are relaxed during sleep is pretty high. 

If you find out you have many signs of sleep apnea, then you may request the sleep disorder clinic to give you the equipments needed to test at home. For people who do shift work, or have problem sleeping at normal schedule or in a strange setting, a home sleep testing will ensure you don't have to wait for a long time to schedule with the sleep clinic, or risk having to redo the test multiple times. Trust me it is not fun!

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