How to Test for Sleep Apnea

In order to properly diagnose your sleep apnea, sometimes a doctor needs to perform tests to measure your sleep patterns. There are many variations for sleep testing, including home sleep testing using the Apnea Risk Evaluation System (ARES™).

Sleep apnea is a disorder in which a person’s breathing stops and starts and they can’t get proper sleep. Sleep apnea can also cause daytime fatigue and as well as disturbing those around you causing them to become sleep-deprived.

sleep apnea testingSleep Test Variations

Multiple sleep latency test (MSLT) – People who are tired throughout the day end up getting this test. It tests how quickly you fall asleep and whether or not you enter REM sleep. This has been the most common tool to test for narcolepsy. This test is commonly referred to as the daytime nap study.

This is a full-day test that consists of five separate nap sessions. You will lay down and when the lights go out, you will try to sleep. The test measures how long it takes you to go to sleep. After 15 minutes of sleeping, you will be woken up. If you can’t fall asleep within 20 minutes, the trial ends.

Polysomnograms (PSG) – This test is known as the overnight sleep study. The main point of this test is to monitor internal body functions during the night, like brain activity, eye movements, heart rate, blood pressure and oxygen levels. This is similar to what is tested with a home sleep study, but at a sleep center.

Maintenance of wakefulness test (MWT) – This is usually done a day after a PSG test or after medication has been given to you to test its effectiveness. You will be placed in a controlled environment and asked to lay in a bed and stay awake as long as you can. The test measures how long you can stay awake during a time when you’re normally awake.

Home Sleep Test – Similar to the PSG, home sleep tests are done overnight, but in your own home. This allows for more accurate results since it reflects your normal sleep environment. We partner with Watermark Medical using the Apnea Risk Evaluation System (ARES™).

Read more about the home sleep test

If you think you have sleep apnea, contact Dr. David Oliver at Coastal Ear, Nose & Throat to discuss the possibility of getting tested.