Psychotherapy with Suzanne Bergmann LCSW

A Deeper Look at Home Sleep Studies: Sleep Studies at Home vs. In-person

Do you ever find yourself wondering about the quality of your sleep? Have you considered undergoing a sleep study but were deterred by the thought of spending a night in a sleep center? Well, the good news is that technology has brought sleep testing to the comfort of your own home. In consultation with Dr. Michael Howell, Chief Medical Officer at GEM SLEEP, we’ll explore the world of home sleep studies, how they work, their benefits, and what you can learn from them.

Understanding Home Sleep Studies

A home sleep study, also known as a home sleep apnea test (HSAT) or portable sleep monitor, is a convenient and cost-effective way to assess your sleep quality and screen for sleep disorders like sleep apnea. Instead of spending a night in a sleep center, you can perform the test in the familiar surroundings of your own home. But how does a home sleep study work?

  1. Equipment: Home sleep studies typically involve wearing a small device that records various physiological parameters while you sleep. This equipment usually includes sensors for monitoring your airflow, breathing effort, oxygen levels, heart rate, and sometimes even body position.
  2. Setup: Your healthcare provider will provide you with detailed instructions on how to set up the equipment before bedtime. You’ll attach the sensors to specific locations on your body, typically the chest, nose, and finger. The device is usually compact and comfortable to wear.
  3. Data Collection: As you sleep, the device collects data on your sleep patterns and events, such as pauses in breathing or drops in oxygen levels. It records this information throughout the night.
  4. Data Analysis: After the test, the collected data is analyzed by sleep specialists or automated software to diagnose sleep disorders or provide insights into your sleep quality.

Benefits of Home Sleep Studies

Now, let’s delve into the advantages of choosing a home sleep study:

  1. Convenience: Home sleep studies allow you to stay in the comfort of your home, sleep in your own bed, and follow your regular bedtime routine.
  2. Cost-Effective: They are more affordable than in-lab sleep studies, making them accessible to a broader range of individuals.
  3. Real-World Data: By observing your sleep in your natural environment, home sleep studies provide a more accurate reflection of your typical sleep patterns.
  4. Reduced Anxiety: For some, the clinical setting of a sleep center can cause anxiety and affect sleep patterns. Home studies eliminate this factor.
  5. Fast: It is typically faster to get a home sleep study versus an in-person sleep study. For example, Dr. Michael Howell shared, “the vast majority of people who get a GEM sleep study are able to get the study within a week and get the results back in the next couple of days after completing the study.”

What Can You Learn from a Home Sleep Study?

Home sleep studies can provide valuable information about your sleep, such as:

  • Sleep Apnea: They can diagnose obstructive sleep apnea, a condition where breathing repeatedly stops and starts during sleep.
  • Sleep Efficiency: You can learn how efficiently you’re sleeping and identify disruptions in your sleep architecture.
  • Oxygen Levels: They can track oxygen saturation levels, helping diagnose conditions like nocturnal hypoxemia.
  • Heart Health: Some studies also provide insights into your heart rate patterns during sleep.

Home Sleep Study Limitations

Dr. Michael Howell helps us identify the limitations of home sleep studies.  He states, “home studies are excellent for individuals who are very likely to have OSA (Snore, witnessed apneas, tired during the day) but do not have other medical complications.”  In-person sleep studies are necessary when an individual has severe heart or lung disease, complicated cardiopulmonary disease, severe insomnia, and unusual sleep behaviors like sleepwalking.

If you are interested in a home sleep test,  GEM SLEEP is now covered under some health plans/networks and can be reached by clicking here.

 In conclusion, home sleep studies offer a convenient and cost-effective way to assess your sleep quality and screen for sleep disorders. If you suspect you have a sleep-related issue, don’t hesitate to discuss the possibility of a home sleep study with your healthcare provider. It’s a step toward better understanding your sleep and improving your overall well-being. 

As a therapist treating insomnia, I often refer clients to sleep studies.  Sleep issues often have both a medical and psychological components and addressing them both leads to success.  Want to know more about how psychotherapy could improve your sleep?  Contact me and we can arrange a free phone consultation to discuss therapy options for sleep disorders.


  1. Collop, N. A., Anderson, W. M., Boehlecke, B., Claman, D., Goldberg, R., Gottlieb, D. J., … & Winsett, D. (2007). Clinical guidelines for the use of unattended portable monitors in the diagnosis of obstructive sleep apnea in adult patients. Journal of Clinical Sleep Medicine, 3(7), 737-747.
  2. Berry, R. B., Budhiraja, R., Gottlieb, D. J., Gozal, D., Iber, C., Kapur, V. K., … & Davidson Ward, S. L. (2012). Rules for scoring respiratory events in sleep: update of the 2007 AASM Manual for the Scoring of Sleep and Associated Events. Journal of Clinical Sleep Medicine, 8(5), 597-619.
  3. Dr. Michael Howell Chief Medical Officer GEM SLEEP interview