Home » Patients » Home Sleep Apnea Test
August 2020 |  Reviewed by:  Seema Khosla, MD and Rafael J. Sepulveda, MD

What is a home sleep apnea test?

A home sleep apnea test provides a medical provider with information to diagnose sleep apnea. It allows you to sleep at home wearing equipment that collects information about how you breathe during sleep. You will usually set up the testing equipment yourself.

There are a variety of devices that have different sensors and equipment. These devices measure your breathing and blood oxygen level. Some also may measure your heart rate or other information about your body.

A medical provider may recommend a home sleep apnea test if:

  • It is highly likely that you have moderate to severe sleep apnea
  • You have no significant medical conditions other than the suspected sleep apnea

You should not have a home sleep apnea test if:

  • You do not have a high risk of sleep apnea
  • Your doctor suspects that you have another sleep disorder
  • You have certain medical conditions including pulmonary diseases, neuromuscular diseases or congestive heart failure
  • It is physically difficult for you to administer the test at home

In these cases, your doctor may recommend a sleep study instead of a home sleep apnea test. A sleep study provides the most complete evaluation of your sleep.

What is the home sleep apnea testing process?

A home sleep apnea test is designed to be a convenient way to collect information about your sleep. On the day of your test:

  • Follow your regular routine as much as possible
  • Avoid napping
  • Eliminate the use of alcohol and/or caffeine after lunch.

If you are on a regular medication, tell your doctor. She may recommend that you temporarily stop taking the medication.

Before your home sleep apnea test, you may have to go to the doctor’s office to pick up the equipment. Alternatively, someone may deliver the home sleep apnea test to your home.

A member of the sleep team will give you instructions on how to use the device. Ask questions if there is anything you do not understand.

You can go to sleep at your regular bedtime. When you are ready to sleep, you will attach the sensors to your body as instructed. You may be asked to keep a sleep log or to press a button on the machine when you get into bed. When you wake up in the morning, you can remove the sensors. You may have to take the device back to the sleep center, return it by mail, and some are disposable. Your sleep center will let you know what to do with your equipment after your test.