Sleep Tests

OK so, you’re tired all the time, grumpy and your partner tells you sound like a freight train when you’re nodding off to sleep. You might believe that you don’t need a doctor to tell you that you need to do something about it but as you’ve probably guessed…seeing one is necessary to take the first step in improving your quality of life. (Which also includes the quality of your relationship).

Step one: Referral from your GP

The first type of sleep test is called a ‘diagnostic’ sleep study. This will tell you if you have sleep apnea and if so, how bad it is. The test is an overnight one that measures everything from how many times per hour you stop breathing and how long you stop breathing for, to the oxygen levels in your body and which stages of sleep you actually reach. You’ll need to visit your GP and ask them to refer you to have a diagnostic sleep study. Your GP will give you a standard referral for your initial sleep test or if you’re in Toowoomba, Gold Coast or Sydney areas, you can use a referral downloaded from http://sleeptestingaustralia.com.au/

Step two: Book your sleep study

There are two different ways you can have a diagnostic sleep study. In home or in lab.

The in home sleep test requires you to make an appointment with a home testing company or pharmacy to get wired up in the afternoon. From there, go home, have dinner and go to sleep in your own bed. The device records everything it needs to and when you drop the gear back to the same place the next morning, they will send the data off to a sleep physician to be scored and assessed. The upside to an in home test is that you’ll be sleeping in your own environment and many people believe they will be able to sleep better in their own bed than someone else’s.

The ‘in lab’ test is where you spend the night in a dedicated sleep lab and are monitored by qualified sleep technicians all night. The up side to going down this path is that there are usually much more sophisticated recording and monitoring equipment in these labs and if a wire or sensor falls off during the night, the sleep techs will be able to rectify the situation.

Costs: Some in lab sleep tests are bulk billed with no out of pocket expense to the patient. In home tests are usually around the $95 mark but all options can range upward to about $300 depending where you go.

Step Three: Results

Within a couple of weeks of having your sleep test, the results should be forwarded back to your GP with a recommendation by the sleep physician that scored your test. You’ll need to go back to your GP so they can run through the results with you. The measurement that most GP’s will be looking at is your AHI level. (Apnea Hypopnea Index). This is basically the amount of times per hour that you stop breathing for longer than 10 seconds along with the amount of times your airways start to collapse. If your AHI is under 5 per hour, you’re in the clear!

If your AHI is between 5 and 15, you be classed as having mild apnea. Between 15 and 30 is moderate and anything over 30 times per hour is severe. Most people are completely unaware of how bad their sleep quality is because they are unconscious at the time. When I ask people if they snore, the common answer is, “I never snore when I’m sleeping alone” which really means you’re always snoring…you just don’t hear yourself and if you keep snoring like that, you may find your self alone permanently! (Or on the couch or in the spare room).

Step Four: Treatment

So now you’ve been formally diagnosed with OSA (Obstructive Sleep Apnea). What’s next?

Well that’s where we come in to the picture. Your doctor will recommend treatment of some sort and give you a script. The recommendation could be the trial of a CPAP machine and mask, it could be a secondary titration test or another form of treatment. The best thing to do at this stage is call or email us to speak with an expert. We will stay with you right through the process to help you adjust to treatment and ensure that you get the most out of your CPAP gear. The overall goal is to allow your body to finally catch up on some quality of sleep and therefore improve your overall quality of life.

Give us a call on 1300 133 298, drop into a clinic or email us at info@cpap.com.au for more information.