Home Sleep Study v in-clinic study – which is best for you?

Some of the most common questions we get asked by our patients at SleepFlo:

What is the difference between home sleep tests and in-lab sleep tests?  Which is better?  Which is more affordable?  Which is best for diagnosing my disorder?

sleep study

Locations of sleep tests

One of the biggest differences between home sleep tests and in-lab sleep tests is the location at which they take place.

Home Sleep Tests are exactly what they sound like: sleep tests that are taken from the comfort of one’s own home. For a home sleep test, the user comes into the Sleep Clinic on the afternoon of the test to have the testing device fitted, ideally by a Sleep Scientist. The equipment is returned to the Sleep Clinic the next morning, and analysis of the data begins.

For an in-lab sleep study the patient must come into a facility for an overnight study. Patients generally arrive between 8-9 p.m. to fill out paper work and be given an overview of the procedure. Patients will spend the night in the lab and the test usually concludes around 6-7 a.m.

When it comes to location and comfort, most people agree that a Home Sleep Test is the best bet for a patient. Generally, there is a shorter wait-time to book a Home Sleep Tests, compared to often a longer wait-time for an overnight clinic test.

Diagnostics of sleep tests

What the tests diagnose is really what sets the two apart from each other. An overnight sleep study can test for and diagnose a whole range of sleep disorders including: breathing disorders, periodic limb movement disorders (PLMD), circadian rhythm disorders, hypersomnia, insomnia, and many more.

A Home Sleep Test is designed to testing for breathing disorders such as obstructive sleep apnea.

Equipment used in sleep tests

An overnight study uses a whole range of monitoring devices to accurately diagnose a variety of sleep disorders. Because a Home Sleep Test is used for diagnosing breathing disorders, it requires far less equipment,some of which is easy for patients to apply themselves including

  • a wiringsmall nasal cannula to measure airflow
  • a belt around the upper chest to measure respiratory effort
  • a finger clip to measure the oxygen saturation in the blood





Supervision of sleep tests

For an in-lab sleep study a Sleep Technologist is on-hand during the night observing the sleep activities of the patient from a monitoring station. They are able to calibrate the equipment to the patient’s needs and make necessary adjustments or reattach disconnected equipment as needed for best results of the study.

In a home sleep test, the patient is unsupervised and there is a risk of leads coming loose, etc. At SleepFlo, because University-trained Sleep Scientists and Registered Nurses fit our devices to the patient we rarely have a problem with disconnected equipment.

Getting results back from sleep tests


Results from Home Sleep Tests are often quicker to get back to the patient. At SleepFlo, the patient and their referring GP, receive the results within 10-14 days of the test. The wait for clinic test results is as much as 5 weeks in many cases.

Cost of sleep studies

Both tests are Bulk-Billed under Medicare, with a referral from your General Practitioner.



Choosing which test is best comes down to a patient-by-patient basis. Talk to your GP, and discuss your concerns, or take our quick, 2-min Risk Assessment quiz.

If you have any questions or concerns regarding Sleep Apnea or Sleep Tests, contact SleepFlo on 1300 79 49 46 or click here.

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