Not catching enough z’s?

Sleep study may help

When you care for a loved one, you know eating right and exercising are important. Don’t forget about how he or she is sleeping – not getting enough sleep can decrease well-being.

The person may suffer from obstructive sleep apnea (OSA) if he or she wakes up often in the night, snores loudly, gasps for air while asleep or has frequent headaches in the morning. OSA occurs when the tongue and throat muscles relax while you’re sleeping. This creates an obstruction, blocking airflow and causing breathing to slow or even stop.

“Every time you start to get deep, restful sleep, it’s as if someone shakes you a bit,” says Paul Abbott, director, Humana Clinical Best Practices. “Your brain is kicking you up to a lighter stage of sleep so you’ll re-engage and start breathing again.”

A sleep study will let you know if your loved one has OSA. It can be done in the home using a small machine that tracks oxygen levels, airflow and heart rate, or at an overnight sleep clinic. An in-home sleep test can be shipped directly to you. This makes it more convenient for you and more comfortable for your loved one. A home sleep study also can be more accurate.

“If you’re in your home, the study can more accurately capture your normal night’s sleep compared to if you go to a facility,” Abbott says.

If your loved one has two or more of the risk factors below, visit to take a short quiz. It’ll help you decide whether to talk to the doctor about an in-home sleep study:

  • Family history of OSA
  • High blood pressure
  • Smoker
  • Male
  • Over 40
  • Overweight
  • Large neck size (17 inches or more in men; 16 inches or more in women)
  • Small airways in your nose, throat and mouth
  • Enlarged tonsils