Understanding Sleep Study Results

In order for our dental sleep apnea team to treat you, you’ll need to take the first important step in the process – having a formal sleep study. A sleep study can be done at home and monitors your sleep in real time, checking for a healthy cycle and sleep apnea events.

The home sleep apnea test will measure several pieces of biometric data that will get examined and interpreted and the results will give you a clear picture of your sleep quality as reflected by factors like blood oxygen saturation, breathing pattern and depth, heart rhythms, snoring, and sleeping positions. Patterns or interruptions in this data are vital to determining your sleep quality and assessing disruptions.

There are a few things you can look at that will give you a good idea if you do have sleep apnea after you take your sleep study. Here are just a few.

Sleep Efficiency

Sleep efficiency is a term used to describe how much time you are spending asleep versus how much time you are awake throughout the night. This number is found be dividing the number of minutes you spend awake by the total sleep recording period.

Apnea Hypopnea Index (AHI)

The Apnea Hypopnea Index tells you the average number of times you experience an apnea or hypopnea per hour of sleep. A normal person without sleep apnea may suffer from an average of 0 to 5 events per hour whereas someone who has sleep apnea will have more than 5 events per hour.

Sleep Stages

During each night we progress through several sleep stages multiple times. These stages are known as N1, N2, N3, and REM sleep. Sleep apnea can disrupt this cycle, making it impossible for patients to achieve normal rest. For instance, sleep apnea can cause individuals to never sink into the deepest stage of sleep that they need to feel recharged in the morning.

During the sleep study, brain monitors track which stage of sleep you are experiencing in order to to observe any irregularities. For some people, sleep apnea is worse during REM sleep. A 2012 study in the Journal of Clinical Sleep Medicine analyzed 300 sleep studies and found that half of patients had a 2x increase in AHI while in REM sleep


If you are concerened you may be suffering from sleep apnea, please don’t hesitate contacting our office and we can help get you started with a sleep study today.