Monitoring Your Sleep: Home Sleep Study

Man sitting on bed, preparing CPAP mask and machine.

A home sleep study tracks and records body functions while you’re asleep in your own bed. The results of the study will help diagnose your sleep problem and plan your treatment.

How a home sleep study works

During a sleep study, sensors attached to your body measure your breathing, oxygen level, and other body functions. You will be shown how to attach the sensors to your body. You may also have help from a technician. At bedtime you plug the sensors into a small computer and turn it on. In the morning, you will remove the sensors and return the computer so the results can be studied. A sleep doctor reviews the results and sends the information back to your healthcare provider. Your provider will then discuss the results with you.


You’ll be given instructions for how to set up the sensors and the computer. Doing so will be simple. For best results:

  • Go through the instructions during the day so you’ll be ready to use the equipment at bedtime.

  • Stick to your normal routine. Ask your healthcare provider if you should do anything differently the night of the study. If you normally use caffeine or alcohol, or take sleep medicine before bed, be sure to let your provider know.

  • If you get up during the night, reconnect the sensors to the computer or to yourself correctly.

  • Get as many hours of sleep as you can.

Getting the results

The results of your sleep study need to be scored and interpreted. Once this is done, your healthcare provider will discuss the findings with you. The sleep study results will show whether you have apnea. This is when your breathing stops temporarily many times during the night, awakening you briefly.  It can also tell how severe the apnea is. The findings help your healthcare provider know which treatment or treatments may be the right ones for you.