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How To Pass A Home Sleep Apnea Test

by Lyndon Langley
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How To Pass A Home Sleep Apnea Test

How To Pass A Home Sleep Apnea Test

Sleep apnea is a serious problem that affects millions of Americans, and it’s not just your imagination when you’re tired; there are real effects to having sleep apnea. Some people who have sleep apnea don’t even know they do because they feel fine during the day. But if left untreated, sleep apnea may cause high blood pressure, heart attack, stroke, diabetes, memory problems, depression, weight gain (especially around the waist), and more. It’s also linked to increased risk for accidents on the roadways.
So how does one pass a home sleep apnea test? Well, first things first: You need to get tested by a doctor so he knows exactly what is going on in your body. He’ll also be able to prescribe treatments like CPAP machines and other devices that can keep your breathing healthy while you sleep.
If you’ve been diagnosed with sleep apnea, here are some tips to make sure that you pass your next sleep study at home.
First off, this list isn’t exhaustive. If you think something should be listed here, please drop me a line and I’d love to hear about it!
1. Don’t drink before bedtime. Alcohol makes it harder for your airway muscles to relax, which is important for proper breathing. In fact, drinking anything before sleeping could affect the results of your sleep study.
2. Wear loose clothing. This means no tight belts, bra straps, undershirt, turtlenecks, etc. Loose clothes allow for better airflow as well as less interference from fabric. When wearing tight pants or underwear, remember to remove them prior to getting into the testing chair.
3. Remove rings and bracelets. Rings and bracelets can interfere with the sensor equipment on the machine being used. The same goes for watches.
4. Make sure you wear comfortable shoes. Something that doesn’t rub against your foot or scrunch your toes. Also make sure you aren’t wearing any accessories that might catch on the sensors.
5. Wear a sleeveless shirt. As previously mentioned, loose clothing allows for better air flow. Wearing a long sleeve shirt will only make the process longer. And avoid bandages, gauze, tape, or anything else that would cover up skin.
6. Ask someone to take pictures of you. Not everyone has the best camera, but it’s always nice to see yourself. Take a picture of yourself sitting upright in a chair with your mouth closed, then another after you close your lips. Then take a third photo with your tongue sticking out. That way you won’t forget to close your mouth!
7. Eat a light meal before the exam. Studies show that eating food within an hour of the test can throw off the results by causing acid reflux. Eating breakfast before the test helps to reduce this effect.
8. Don’t chew gum. Chewing gum could prevent the sensors from detecting your breath correctly.
9. Avoid caffeine and nicotine. Caffeine and nicotine can irritate your throat and lungs, making it hard to breathe properly.
10. Don’t smoke. Smoking increases the likelihood of respiratory issues due to scar tissue buildup. Smokers are often advised to stop smoking several weeks before their sleep studies.
11. Don’t snore loudly. Snoring can disrupt the sensors’ ability to detect your breaths. Loud snores are irritating to many people, including hearing loss victims.
12. Don’t lie flat in the supine position. Lie on your side instead. Doing so will ensure that the sensors are able to capture all your body movements rather than just the movement of your chest.
13. Don’t talk or move. Talking through your sleep study could interrupt data collection. Also, moving around could dislodge the nasal mask, interfering with the breathing measurements.
14. Don’t hold your breath. Holding your breath could give inaccurate readings as to whether you’re actually asleep.
15. Sit upright. Slouching over could result in faulty measurements. Sitting upright puts your neck in the correct alignment, keeping the head straight.
16. Be patient. It takes time for the sensors to adjust to your changing facial features throughout the night.
17. Keep still. Moving around too much could throw off the reading.
18. Relax. Taking deep breaths before each measurement can help calm your mind and body. Just try not to fall asleep.
19. Talk quietly. Speaking too loud could disturb others nearby. Or talking to yourself in private could encourage self-talk.
20. Allow enough room between you and the technician. You want to leave enough space so that the technician can maneuver his/her hands freely. Also, you don’t want your chin resting on your chest.
21. Let the tech know if you have allergies. Allergies could trigger your nose to block your airways, resulting in false readings. Tell the technicians if you have hay fever or seasonal allergies.
22. Bring along your phone charger. Your phone battery could die during the test, leaving you unable to call for help.
23. Drink water regularly. Drinking lots of fluids will help regulate your temperature and dilute the chemicals and particles produced by the exhaled air.
24. Get plenty of rest. Sleeping 8 hours per night is recommended.
25. Follow directions carefully. Pay attention to every instruction given by the technologist. They’re trained professionals who know what they’re doing.
26. Have fun! Sleep studies are meant to be enjoyable experiences.
Now that we’ve gone over the dos, here are some general guidelines to follow once you wake up from your sleep study.
27. Stay in your current location. If possible, stay where you were during the sleep study. Otherwise, use the bathroom and check in with the technician at least twice during the exam.
28. Try not to yawn. Yawning could mess up the data collected by the sensors.
29. Go easy on the coffee. Coffee contains a stimulant called methylxanthines. Methylxanthines stimulate the nervous system and act as bronchodilators, increasing the amount of oxygen available to your brain. However, excessive amounts of caffeine can lead to anxiety and insomnia.
30. Stay away from alcohol. Alcohol stimulates the central nervous system, increasing activity levels. Excessive consumption can lead to panic attacks, nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, irregular heartbeat, and difficulty urinating.
31. Stay away from tobacco products. Tobacco products contain carcinogens that can increase inflammation and mucus production in the lungs. These substances can further obstruct breathing.
32. No heavy meals. Avoid foods containing fats, proteins, carbohydrates, and fiber until at least 2 hours after the test. Foods containing sugars, milk products, and starches could upset the chemical balance of your saliva, affecting your results.
33. Wait 3 days after taking medications. Drugs such as decongestants and antihistamines can cause drowsiness. Medications taken within 24 hours of the sleep study can confuse the results.
34. Know your limits. If you experience severe headaches, dizziness, shortness of breath, weakness, clammy skin, or blurred vision, notify your healthcare provider immediately.
35. Report abnormal findings. Abnormal findings on your sleep study could indicate serious health conditions. Contact your physician right away if you notice the following symptoms:
Shortness of breath
Difficulty swallowing
Profuse coughing
Rapid pulse
Chest pain
Sudden weight changes
Unusual bleeding
Red, inflamed eyes
Hot flushes
Feeling faint
Nausea or vomiting
36. Share information with loved ones. Discuss your sleep study results with your family members. They can provide helpful feedback on how to improve your lifestyle habits.
37. Start exercising. Exercise can strengthen the respiratory muscles, reducing the symptoms of obstructive sleep apnea.
38. Consider using a humidifier. Using a humidifier can lower the chance of developing upper respiratory infections.
39. Limit alcohol intake. People with sleep apnea are already vulnerable to alcohol-related complications. Drinking excessively can aggravate existing sleep disorders.
40. Use the restroom. Check in with the technician whenever necessary.
41. Do your homework. Learn more about the tests conducted and what they mean.
42. Consult a physician. If you have any concerns regarding your sleep study results, consult your primary care physician immediately.
43. Remember: Sleep apnea is treatable. Treatment options include behavioral modification therapy, drug treatment, and surgical intervention.
We hope this article has helped answer your questions about passing sleep studies at home. Please contact us with any additional comments or suggestions you may have. We look forward to helping you find solutions to your specific needs.

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1 comment

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