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Understanding Sleep Tests: Types and Importance

Updated: Jun 2, 2023

insight into sleep test

Key Takeaways from the Article:

  • Understanding Sleep Tests: Types and Importance.

  • Sleep tests help identify and diagnose sleep disorders.

  • Home sleep tests are convenient and cost-effective, while in-lab studies gather more extensive data.

  • Sleep tests vary in the components measured and can diagnose different sleep disorders.


Sleep is an essential aspect of our lives, and disruptions in sleep patterns can have a significant impact on our overall health and well-being. Sleep tests play a crucial role in understanding the causes of sleep disturbances and diagnosing various sleep disorders. This article will explore the different types of sleep tests and their importance in identifying sleep-related issues.

what is a sleep test

Types of Sleep Tests:

types of sleep tests

1. Level 3 Sleep Study (Home Sleep Apnea Test)

A level 3 sleep study, also known as a home sleep apnea test (HSAT), allows individuals to undergo testing from the comfort of their own homes. Unlike other sleep studies conducted in a lab, this test utilizes a sleep study kit to record breathing activity, oxygen levels, and heart rate throughout the night. By analyzing this data, the level 3 sleep study assesses snoring and airflow to diagnose obstructive sleep apnea. This type of sleep study is particularly suitable for those suspected of having sleep apnea without additional sleep-related concerns.

2. Level 2 Sleep Study (Polysomnography)

A level 2 sleep study, also referred to as polysomnography, can be conducted at home or in a sleep lab. In addition to monitoring breathing activity, oxygen levels, and heart rate, a level 2 sleep study also tracks brain and muscle activity. This comprehensive monitoring allows for detecting issues like periodic limb movement disorder (PLMD) and provides a detailed analysis of sleep quality and duration. A level 2 sleep study is recommended for individuals experiencing poor sleep without a suspected risk of sleep apnea or when the underlying cause is uncertain.

3. Level 1 Sleep Study (Polysomnography)

Level 1 sleep study, similar to a level 2 study, involves polysomnography. However, level 1 sleep studies take place exclusively in sleep labs and are continuously observed by Registered Polysomnographic Technologists (RPSGT). These studies offer real-time monitoring, and apart from diagnosing REM Sleep Behavior Disorder, they provide the same testing capabilities as level 2 sleep studies. Level 1 sleep studies are most suitable for individuals who experience poor sleep without a suspected risk of sleep apnea or for those with unclear causes of their sleep disturbances. It is essential to be comfortable sleeping in a lab environment and under the supervision of an RPSGT.


Sleep tests are valuable tools for understanding sleep disorders and their impact on overall health. Depending on individual circumstances, level 3, level 2, or level 1 sleep studies may be recommended. Home sleep tests offer convenience and cost-effectiveness, while in-lab studies provide comprehensive data for diagnosing a wide range of sleep disorders. By undergoing appropriate sleep testing, individuals can gain insights into their sleep patterns and receive the necessary care and treatment to improve their sleep quality and overall well-being.

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