Sleep. Out of the bazillion ways we are told how to attain better health, if I were to make just one adjustment to get the most ROI, it is to make sure that I am getting enough sleep. Countless articles and even entire books have been written about the benefits of getting enough sleep. Sleepfoundation.org recommends that teens sleep between 8 to 10 hours while adults from age 18 and upwards sleep from 7 to 9 hours. During these hours, our bodies recover from the stresses of the day, we repair and build muscles, our hormones reset to help us get lean, and we prime ourselves for mental health.
But is getting the correct number of hours enough to give us all these health benefits or is there a quality aspect that we should be mindful of? Our friends from Hi-Precision partnered up with Quality Sleep Philippines to offer an answer to this question, with their latest diagnostic offering: the Home Sleep Test.
The Home Sleep Test is designed to specifically diagnose obstructive sleep apnea. Sleep apnea is a sleeping disorder wherein a person stops to breath while asleep. This causes a drop in blood oxygen and puts a lot of stress to the heart, leading to many health complications.
My experience began with scheduling an appointment at the Hi-Precision Powerplant Mall branch. We got off to an excellent start as I arrived for my appointment 30 minutes early and was immediately accommodated, no wait time. The orientation began with me filling up a questionnaire regarding my sleeping habits and medical history. It was proceeded with a thorough explanation of how to use the Apnea Risk Evaluation System (ARES) headset. A couple of important points to note as discussed during the orientation:
- Make sure that all sources of noise such as TV and mobile phones are turned off or are put on silent as the ARES machine can detect these (this includes if your spouse snores, which I’m not saying my wife does… really)
- If you do have a spouse who snores (which I don’t), it is best to sleep at another room for the duration of the sleep test
- Keep it on for at least 4 hours of sleep, anything less will make the test results inaccurate
As the name implies, the Home Sleep Test is to be taken and used in the comfort of your own home. Here’s a look of the set up right before I turned in for a night of sleep test.
While I did find it a bit difficult to sleep with the ARES on, I should also mention that I am one of those that are very sensitive to wearing anything on my head while sleeping. Eye blankets actually have the opposite effect on me. Instead of helping me get to sleep, I tend to fidget with them lengthily until fatigure eventually puts me out. Having said that, the alternative to the ARES, which is an overnight stay at a hospital with tons of diodes and wires stuck to your whole body, is a much more inconvenient, bothersome, and expensive option. I’ll touch more on this later.
I returned the Home Sleep Test the next day and was told that results will be available after working days.
On my scheduled appointment, I was met with the team from both Hi-Precision and Sleep Quality Philippines. Sleep clinician Neil Maypa (far left) led the discussion on sleep apnea and my results.
Neil’s presentation on sleep apnea was an eye opener. Not only do we not experience the benefits of lengthy sleep due, sleep apnea actually has very real and detrimental effects.
Before we go on and find out if I am a heart attack candidate, here’s a few fun facts that were discovered during the test:
- It took me 9 minutes to transition from lying down to falling asleep
- I slept for a total of 5 hours
- 73.4% of the time I slept on my back
- The rest of the time I sleep on my left side, never on my right
- Mean pulse rate is at 44 BMP
So do I have Obstructive Sleep Apnea? Here’s what we found out:
- For the 5 hours the test was taken, my sleep efficiency was measured at 80.2%
- My respiratory disturbance index score was mild at RDI = 15
- I have minimal oxygen desaturation at only 0.2% of my total sleep time falling below 90% oxygen saturation
- I snored over 30dB for 39.1% of the time I was asleep, with 6.2% of the time being very loud
- I have mild, non-positional obstructive sleep apnea
Now that I know that my wife was telling the truth about me snoring and occasionally stop breathing, what’s the next step? Treatment considerations for myself are as follows:
- CPAP or nasal Continuous Positive Airway Pressure (available at Quality Sleep Philippines)
- Mandibular advancement splint (available at your favorite dentist)
- Surgical modifications to the airway (nip/tuck my deviated septum from causing nasal blockage)
- Weight loss (ouch) or behavioral therapy to reduce the potential risk of daytime somnolence, hypertension, cardiovascular disease, stroke, and diabetes
Knowing that I have mild sleep apnea and what the associated risks are, it is more important that I be mindful of not only the duration of my sleep, but also of its quality. Some helpful DIY tips on how to improve on sleep quality are:
- Keep you room pitch black. Even the small green light from your airconditioning unit will affect your sleep. Cover it
- Stay away from electronic devices such as phones and your computer at least one hour prior to sleeping
- Turn off your wifi router and keep your phone away from your head when sleeping
- Take magnesium supplements prior to bed to help muscles relax. I personally take 2 grams of magnesium prior to going to bed, 3 grams if coming from a grueling workout
- Eat your carbs at night. This will raise your serotonin (feel good hormone) levels and decrease cortisol (stress hormone) to help you relax
So do you have sleep apnea and should you take the Home Sleep Apnea test? You should definitely consider it if you are suffering from the following symptoms:
Why the Home Sleep Test from Hi-Precision?
The Home Sleep Test service is very convenient. You may opt to schedule an orientation and pick up appointment at your nearest Hi-Precision branch or have a technician deliver the Home Sleep Test kit to your doorstep. The test is taken at the comfort of your own home. The test is up to 96% accurate at a cost of only P10,000. The ARES device is portable and is easy set up on your own.
The alternative is the full Polysomnography (PSG) test. This entails a long wait time for availability of the test and overnight room. The PSG test has to be taken inside a lab or at a hospital. The PSG has an accuracy rate of 98% and a price tag of P25,000 to P40,000. The set-up will take a team of technicians, which will end up with you looking like this:
For more information on the Home Sleep Test, visit Hi-Precision at hi-precision.com.ph or call them at (02)741-7777.