Getting a sleep test done at a hospital can give one a sleepless night. Called the polysomnography (PSG) test, it involves a night stay at a hospital, with your head wired to a machine that monitors breathing, heart rate and brain waves. But now you can take this test in the comfort of your bedroom.
Most sleep specialists rent out sleep test kits at anything between Rs 2,000-4,000 per night. On the other hand, PSG test, which can only be done at a hospital or a sleep clinic, can cost up to Rs 15,000.Mohammed Azeem, 38, is among those who benefitted from a home kit. A driver in Delhi, Azeem used to snore through the night and wake up tired most mornings. “A couple of times I dozed at the wheel and barely escaped collisions,” he says. Azeem took a home test and was diagnosed with obstructive sleep apnea (OSA).ResMed is one such home kit available in India and it has recorded 5,000 home studies all over the country in the past year.The device – about the size of an iPhone – is attached to a broad belt tied around the waist. A tube connected to the device is then inserted into the nose, and a finger pulse sensor is clipped to the index finger. The device records the number of pauses in your breath and their duration as you doze.These readings help the doctor l make a diagnosis. Philips home . sleep test kits are also commonly used by Indian doctors.
But home test kits have limitations. “They are most effective in diagnosing OSA but fail to corrrectly detect other disorders such as insomnia and narcolepsy,” says Dr PP Bose, a Delhi-based sleep expert. Home tests are not. recommended for children and r patients who are obese or have a heartlung condition.Another drawback of the machine is that it can accidently switch off when the user turns in sleep. If not properly set up, it can lose data or yield inaccurate data.Dr Manvir Bhatia, head of sleep medicine at Saket City Hospital, says that sleep medicine is still a growing discipline in India, and it is important to be meticulous with the diagnosis. “I routinely get patients who have taken home tests but the doctor has diagnosed them only with mild OSA, missing out the bigger, more serious sleep issues,” says Dr Bhatia.