What is the difference between a home sleep test and a polysomnogram?

Today I will tell you about home sleep testing.  A home sleep test is approved for diagnosing obstructive sleep apnea syndrome only.  It is not a test to take if you might have other sleep disorders such as Willis Ekbom Disease (restless legs syndrome ), Narcolepsy or insomnia not due to sleep apnea.

The "hook up" for a home sleep test depends on the type of equipment being used.  Some units have belts to go around the chest, a cannula to monitor air flow from the nostrils, and a oximeter to wear on the finger to monitor blood oxygen levels during sleep.


One type of Home Sleep monitor is simply worn on the head.  Another has a band worn on the finger.  Still there is a monitor that consist of a device worn on the finger.

The Home Sleep test provides information about air flow during sleep and can help determine if you have mild, moderate or severe sleep apnea.  If your test is negative, you may need to sleep a sleep specialist or have a more detailed test, a polysomnogram.

Home sleep test are not currently approved for testing in children.  Children should be evaluated by a polysomnogram.  More on polysomnograms in my next post.