Sleep Apnea: Tests & Investigations

If you have trouble sleeping, snore or suspect that you have sleep apnea, you can do the following 2 simple steps to:

  • Take a SLEEP APNEA QUIZ to see if you’re at risk.
  • Talk to your doctor or sleep clinician about how to get a SLEEP APNEA TEST. This can be either an overnight sleep lab test (known as polysomnography or PSG which needs to be done at a hospital) or a home sleep test (HST).

1) Sleep Lab Test (Polysomnography)

In a sleep lab or at a hospital, sensors will be placed on your body to monitor your sleep. With your permission, staff may also want to film your sleep study to gain more insight into your sleeping behaviour. This is to assess for unusual movements in your sleep (like sleep talking or walking) and for night-time seizures. You will need to stay overnight at the hospital for this test.

2) Home Sleep Test

A home sleep test (HST) is similar to a sleep lab test but with the convenience of being in your own home. Before a home sleep study night, a sleep clinician will show you how to apply the sensors & monitors and also how to use the recording device during the night. When you wake up in the morning, you can remove the sensors and return the recording device to the sleep clinician.

ResMed’s ApneaLink™ Air home sleep testing device includes a chest belt, nasal cannula, oximeter and recording device, which can detect apneas, hypopneas, flow limitation, snoring, blood oxygen saturation and breathing patterns during your sleep.


The following aspects of sleep evaluation may be measured during your test:

  • Sleep efficiency: These results quantify the total number of minutes a person sleeps during a sleep study divided by the total amount of time they were recorded sleeping. The higher the sleep efficiency, the higher the percentage of sleep time versus awake time
  • Apnea-Hypopnea Index (AHI): This looks at how often a person experiences sleep apnea and hypopnea (partial obstruction). More than five episodes of either are considered an abnormal AHI in adults
  • Oxygen Desaturation Index (ODI): This refers to the number of times a person’s oxygen level drops while they’re asleep. Oxygen levels above 90% are considered normal
  • Heart rate: In general, a normal heart rate is between 60 and 100 beats per minute (BPM)

After your sleep study, you can discuss the treatment options with your doctor or sleep clinician.  Treatment of sleep apnea can lead to improved well-being and help alleviate these symptoms:

  • Loud snoring
  • Lack of energy during the day
  • Daytime sleepiness
  • Morning headaches

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Disclaimer. TELEME blog posts contain general information about health conditions and treatments. It is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. The information is not advice and should not be treated as such. 

If you think you may be suffering from any medical condition, you should seek immediate medical attention from your doctor or other professional healthcare providers. You should never delay seeking medical advice, disregard medical advice, or discontinue medical treatment because of information on this website.

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