What A Home Sleep Study Is Like

Home sleep study kit

After a period of extreme fatigue, and blood tests that cleared me of low iron, thyroid problems and a few things like that, my GP referred me for a home sleep study.


My old GP was supposed to do one a few years ago but he forgot in the wake of the brain tumor investigations & I wasn’t enthused towards it so I didn’t bring it back up.


The sleep study clinic had crappy servicing hours. I asked for a latest/earliest appointment so it didn’t impact on work. The earliest was something ridiculous like 11am so I managed to get the latest…which at 3.45pm (they close at 5pm) really isn’t that late!


You also have to return the device first thing in the morning …but first thing is not that early as they only open at 9am and have no drop off facility. Crap hours.


I made the mistake yesterday morning of taking a quiet moment at work to google what a home sleep study test looks like.


All they told me on the phone while booking was something on your finger & a device about the size of an iPhone.


Yeah, nah.


That’s not accurate. You will have two straps, one around your chest, one around your waist. You’ll have a nasal tube. You’ll have 6 small electrodes around your face, eyes & behind your ears and 2 larger electrodes just below your collarbone. These are all attached by wires to the iPhone sized device that you are wearing on your chest.


FYI: they did not design this to be comfortable with breasts. You know how breasts bounce and move and stuff? Yeah. Have fun waking up with the device hitting you in the chest/neck/face because you moved slightly and it bounced off your breasts.


I was a bit late getting to the clinic because: public transport in Brisbane. But I had called them to let them know I was running 5-10 late.


I filled in the paperwork, which was a three page questionnaire about sleep habits. If the questions were anything to go by, I have great sleep habits.


I gave them my Medicare card, credit card & drivers licence.


I went into the room with a tech who took my weight, height (from my drivers license) and my neck measurement. She fitted me for the chest and waist straps.


I asked about tape as I often get small reactions to tape after blood tests. I got what felt like a dismissive “it’s hypoallergenic”.


You have to wear the device for 10 hours and sign a form saying you agree to get billed if you take it off. She asked me when I wake up and I said 6am, so she wrote on the paper for me to have it on for 8pm. They suggest you start putting it on at 7.30pm.


I asked about the nasal tubes, knowing I have sensitive sinuses and nose and everything. I was worried I wouldn’t be able to sleep with them. I was hoping for positioning tips or something that fell into the realm of useful tips.




I got “yeah, just try not to remove them”.


Thanks for the great advice.


I was thoroughly miserable yesterday after I picked it up.


I was crying in the shower, crying at my husband and I just DID NOT want to do this. I’ll write a bit more in a day or two about this week but it has been a very stressful (in both really good and really bad ways) week and this was the straw that broke the camel’s back. Plus I have a bit of doctor anxiety after years of uncaring ones that my husband has seen. Thankfully I really like my GP. I hope she never leaves the clinic.


I was a bit late in putting it on, mostly because I really didn’t want to and I was wondering if it was worth just not doing it and paying the fee. I really didn’t want to do it, in case that wasn’t clear!


Home sleep study kit
Home sleep study kit


I got my husband to read the instructions and stick the electrodes and things on me. If I had been on my own, no way I would have done it.


Strapped in to the home sleep study kit and unhappy
Strapped in and unhappy


The only happy moment of the home sleep study test
The only happy moment of the home sleep study test – when I realised I could put the device on my middle finger and flip off my husband. He took this photo for me. So kind.


getting miserable with the home sleep study test
getting miserable – nasal tubes suck for someone with a sensitive nose


It took me much longer than usual to fall asleep. I watched some Parks & Rec, then an episode of Megastructures, then was still awake. I eventually drifted off to sleep. Somehow.


After a while, I was awake. Tried not to look at clock or lights and to just try to focus on going back to sleep, but that didn’t work. I was clearly also keeping my husband awake so I asked him if the night was nearly over. I figured if it was 5am I could just wake up for the day. Nope. I think it was 1.20am. I should have known it wasn’t 5am as the sun wasn’t up!


Felt horribly annoyed that I was awake at all. I took off my finger/wrist device, went to the bathroom, climbed back into bed (after walking into the bed, because apparently I don’t know where shit is in my own room), and started getting a bit sleepy. Right as I was thinking I could fall asleep – I realised I hadn’t put the finger/wrist device back on. Cue internal debate about if I have a shit. I figured if I take one item off it seems to invalidate the whole thing so it was all or nothing. I (begrudgingly) put it back on.


Of course, that totally ruined the nearly asleep place I was in. Back to zero.


I tossed and turned a little. I moved my arm to hug my pillow and whacked the wrist device into the wall.


That was the last straw. I grabbed my stuff & stormed to the living room. I put something I knew I could sleep to in the DVD player (That 70s Show) and watched a few episodes.


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I estimate I fell asleep on the couch about 2.30am but I’m not sure.


I must have been wiped out because I don’t remember moving until my alarm went off just before 6am.


It took me a moment to realise that was my permission to take the stuff off. Which – easier said than done. They give you instructions on how to put it all on but none on taking it off. I couldn’t work out how to detach the straps around my chest and waist so I just yanked until I was free. Care factor about possibly damaging things was low.


Peeling the electrodes off wasn’t easy due to the strong glue. I could actually feel the pressure of them still on my face over two hours later. But not everyone has sinuses as sensitive as mine. I used a facial wipe to clean the glue off then had a shower.


As I mentioned above, I’ve been a bit unimpressed with the company from the start so I have a small win in that my husband is returning the device for me this morning as I have an early meeting at work.


I don’t know what they gain out of a very non standard sleep but oh well. I’ve always been a snorer but only on my back (which I’ve already trained myself to rarely sleep on) so I’m hoping that if it does come back with anything that sleep positioning device is all I need. It’s also part of the reason I’ve gone to see a dietician, lowering my weight (113kg) will help lower risk factors.


Have you ever had a sleep study? Did you manage to sleep during it?


11 Replies to “What A Home Sleep Study Is Like”

  1. Oh gawd that does not look comfortable. i think I would have a terrible time sleeping with all that stuff on me! It’s been suggested to me that I have a sleep test done but I’m such a terrible sleeper anyway so with all that gear on me I doubt I’d sleep at all so then how could they do a sleep test? It’ll be interesting to see what results you get!

    1. What other people have told me is that there is a relatively limited amount of data needed for them to investigate sleep issues. Which is (another, see what I said below to Natalie) reason I’m unimpressed with them – the entire thing was a very punitive attitude which is such an old fashioned approach to healthcare. They literally told me I don’t have to go to bed with it on but I had to wear it for 10 hours. I’d like to know what the point of that is.
      It was a crappy and unrepresentative nights sleep for me, which means that I don’t understand the value of the the data. I was constantly pulling the nasal tubes out and itching my nose too.
      But I’m going to talk to my GP about that if the results come back with signs of sleep apena. I could never see myself sleeping with a mask on and I think I would basically refuse to try something as invasive and restrictive as that until I’ve seen an ENT, especially as I’ve had tonsil/sinus issues for years, so if I do have sleep apnea, I would say that is a highly likely cause. The way I see it right now, these results are one only one piece of a puzzle.

  2. OMG Jess that looks barbaric and would keep me awake all bloody night. Nice finger pick..lol

    1. It was annoying as hell. I was so miserable. And I was very unimpressed with the company that I did it through – I wasn’t looking forward to it but given how my questions were treated dismissively, I have concerns for anyone with anxiety or claustrophobia and how they might be treated if they get one done.

  3. Sorry Ness it auto changed here too.

  4. That doesn’t sound pleasant at all! And how you are supposed to get anything like a ‘normal’ night’s sleep with the things up your nose and wires on your chest etc is hard to believe. Hopefully they get some useful data that helps you get a better ‘normal’ night’s sleep. And good luck with the weight program too – hope it helps.

    1. Vanessa Smith says: Reply

      That’s what I wonder – what good is data from a non standard sleep? My weight thing is long term – I have no KG/date goals and my dietician & I are just working on habits is all.

  5. My mum was supposed to do one of these a while ago and really didn’t want to, while I was telling her she should as it sounded cool and I actually wanted to do one! After your post, not so much. I can’t believe the bad service then such a bad experience – while most of the medical field sucks when it comes to tests and whatnot, surely it should not have been that unpleasant. Glad it’s over for you for now!

    Kyah / http://www.weekendtempo.com

    1. Vanessa Smith says: Reply

      It probably didn’t help that I was having a stressful week as it was, but I guess the thing is that it’s only as disturbing as you are sensitive to sleep disruptions. Which is probably sensitive if you’re getting one done! Hopefully not all clinics lack the support like the one I went to. I am glad it’s over!

  6. I’m going to do this too sometime soon, although a friend went in and spent the night in the clinic which I guess may be easier than trying to do it yourself – depending what you’re comfortable with. I agree with you though that there’s no way it can reflect a ‘normal’ night’s sleep if you’re all uncomfortable and wired up? Hope you get some useful results anyway.

    1. Vanessa Smith says: Reply

      Yeah I wonder if the in clinic ones have better trained staff and things like that too. I don’t even know if the person who set me up with the device was qualified in the medical field – they had more of a sales rep vibe about them than a medical vibe. I guess I can only wait and see what the results say before anything else! Do you know if you’re doing a home or clinic one?

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