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At-Home Versus In-Clinic Sleep Testing


If you gasp for air, stop and restart breathing, or wake frequently throughout the night, you could have sleep apnea. Your risk for this dangerous sleep disorder increases if you smoke, have certain conditions like diabetes and atrial fibrillation, or are obese or overweight. But in order to truly know if you have sleep apnea, you must undergo a sleep study for a proper diagnosis.

There are two kinds of sleep study one can partake in. The first, a traditional sleep study, is conducted at a sleep clinic. There you will be hooked up to monitors while a doctor observes you as you sleep.

The second type of sleep study is an at-home sleep study. This is conducted by machinery that the patient brings home with them for the night to monitor their sleep patterns. The machine is then returned and a report is printed out from the data collected during the evenings.

Both types of sleep study have their pros and cons, often making it difficult for patients to know which type of sleep study is best for them. Here, we break down the good and the bad about each type of study, so you can determine which type may be best for you.

At Home

An at-home sleep study is definitely more convenient than an in-clinic study. It is also a lot easier for some because it can be done in the comfort of your own home, in your own bed, and without someone watching you as you sleep. For this reason, many prefer to use an in-home study over a clinic-based study. But the in-home study is not without its caveats.

For example, an in-home study may not be as accurate as a clinical study. This can mean skewed results. This could potentially mean that the test may need to be repeated, possibly in a clinic, which ends up costing more time and frustration.


An in-clinic sleep test is more accurate than an in-home test, meaning there is less of a likelihood of it needing to be repeated. It may be awkward to sleep in front of strangers, but generally, an in-clinic test is recommended more than in-home testing.

Ultimately, the choice is up to you and your physician. For some, an in-home test may work just fine, but for others, your doctor may recommend a clinical exam. If you are at all concerned about either, speak to your physician about your options. The important thing is getting sleep-tested if you believe you could have sleep apnea, no matter the type of test used. It could save your life.

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