Is a Sleep Study required?

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An overnight sleep study with The SleepGP is an essential step in understanding fully what is happening during your sleep. From a SleepGP sleep study, we can tell if you have Obstructive Sleep Apnoea (OSA), or not – and if you do, how severe it is. We can also see what your sleeping position is, how loud you snore, any heart abnormalities – and if you have OSA, what type it is.

Not all sleep studies that are available in the market provide all that detail. The various levels of Sleep Study are set out below. Therefore, you may need advice on the right sleep study for you, and at The SleepGP we are here for you if you want to discuss that.

If you want to get an idea initially whether you could have OSA, you might like to try the self-assessment tool included on this website. Remember it is indicative only, and you should consult your GP, or a SleepGP if in doubt.

Referring to the SleepGP

Your GP can refer you to your local SleepGP.  At your initial consultation with a SleepGP, you will be taken through various types of sleep studies and an appropriate level study will be arranged.

How does it all work? The Sleep GP or their Sleep Care Coordinator / clinical assistant will explain the process on how to hook yourself up to the sleep study machine and provide you with detailed instructions. You will then sleep overnight as normal in your own bed at home, with the machine attached to you. Once you have completed the study, you will simply return the device to our clinic where it will be scored and reported on to determine a diagnosis.

The three levels of sleep study

Level 1

A level 1 sleep study is conducted in a sleep laboratory and is overseen by technicians throughout the duration of the study.  Many people are unnecessarily referred for level 1 sleep studies, also known as in-lab or in- hospital studies, or as CPAP titration. These tests are expensive, and they place the patient in an unnatural environment which in itself can cause disrupted sleep. Level 1 studies often involve long wait times and long delays in getting reported results – and they put a heavy cost on our health care system. In most cases a Level 2 at-home sleep study would have been appropriate.

Level 2

A level 2 study is an at-home sleep study, and is not monitored by a technician throughout the night. At SleepGP, our Level 2 sleep studies offer similar physiologic measurements to the studies conducted in hospital laboratories, and the sleep study is conducted in the comfort and convenience of your own home.

Level 3

A level 3 study monitors only a limited number of physiologic measurements. People seeking help in many pharmacies, or online with ‘Dr Google’, often receive a Level 3 sleep study, which The SleepGP considers inadequate and inferior compared to a Level 2 sleep study – with the potential risk that apnoeas discovered are incorrectly attributed to Obstructive Sleep Apnoea.

Sleep Study measurements

A sleep study measures a range of information including:

  • Body oxygen level through the finger with an ‘oximeter’
  • Airflow through the nose
  • Chest and abdomen movements
  • Heart activity also known as electrocardiogram (ECG)
  • Brain activity also known as electroencephalogram (EEG)
  • Muscle activity also known as electromyogram (EMG)
  • Eye activity also known as electrooculogram (EOG)