If you find yourself snoring loudly, waking with a headache or feeling tired and groggy even after a full night’s sleep, your healthcare provider may recommend you get screened for obstructive sleep apnea (OSA.) Depending on your risk factors and the severity of your symptoms (see below), you have a few different options for initial screening and evaluation.
How Do I Know if I Have Sleep Apnea?
Loud snoring is often the first clue for many people who are later diagnosed with sleep apnea, though there are many other warning signs. When airway muscles relax during sleep, they may partially collapse and block the flow of air in and out of your lungs. Snoring is often the result, as airflow becomes strained and causes airway muscles to vibrate on the exhale and inhale.
While you may suspect you have sleep apnea, only a healthcare provider can evaluate your symptoms, health history, and risk factors and make an official diagnosis.
There are several testing methods available, including an in-lab sleep study and some at-home options.
Sleep Apnea Symptoms
- Loud snoring
- Waking up snorting or gasping for air
- Waking up with a dry mouth
- Frequent morning headaches
- Excessive daytime sleepiness and brain fog
What Is a Sleep Study?
A sleep study involves spending the night in a sleep lab where a specialist conducts a test called a polysomnography. Using special sensors, a technologist monitors how many times you stop breathing through the night, as well as your heart rate, oxygen levels, and sleep patterns.
A sleep specialist then examines your test results and makes a diagnosis and determine the best treatment options. These include things like CPAP therapy or other devices that can help alleviate sleep apnea symptoms.
If you have central sleep apnea, high blood pressure, certain health conditions, or need to be tested for other sleep disorders, an in-lab sleep apnea test may be the most appropriate option. But for others, in-lab tests can pose major challenges. They can be expensive with long waiting lists in some areas, and majorly disrupt work and family schedules.
Sleep apnea is a very common sleep disorder, but if left untreated it can be serious. If you experience sleep apnea symptoms frequently, you should consult with your doctor.
What Is Drowzle Sleep Apnea Screening?
Drowzle is an FDA cleared home sleep apnea screening system that can be done from the comfort of your own bed. Sleep medicine specialists are increasingly prescribing these kinds of screening tests because they’re cheaper, easier, and more accessible for people who need it. With the new Drowzle smartphone app, patients can record and monitor their breathing patterns in their own homes rather than spending the night in a sleep center.
While a home sleep study or at-home screening is not a substitute for an in-lab study, it can work well for people who cannot tolerate spending the night away from home to get tested in person.
How Does Drowzle Work?
Unlike most at-home sleep apnea tests, with Drowzle, there are no sensors or complex testing devices to keep track of. You simply download the free Drowzle app to your smartphone much as you would any other app. Place the smartphone within 2 feet of your pillow while you sleep. It records and stores your oral and nasal breathing sounds, counting and measuring the gaps in your breathing and other metrics.
This data is stored securely in the cloud and shared with your healthcare provider. Based on your level of risk for obstructive sleep apnea, you may choose to opt in to purchase Drowzle Pro and schedule a telehealth appointment with a medical professional. No need to leave your own home.
Drowzle and CPAPSupplies.com have partnered together to offer you a way to get started for free. If you're 21 or older and suspect you have sleep apnea, talk with your doctor about getting screened.