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The SleepImage Ring is a unique at-home sleep test that can help physicians diagnose obstructive sleep apnea (OSA). This device is simple to use and comfortable to wear, making it a suitable choice for people who prefer not to use at-home tests that require many different components. The device measures two different sleep health data points and comes with a mobile app that lets your health care team view your test as soon as it’s complete.
SleepImage sells the device directly to health care professionals. Purchase of the device includes access to comprehensive software and sleep reports. The extensive data collection helps doctors detect the presence of OSA and central sleep apnea (CSA).
We’ll explain how the SleepImage Ring works, what it measures, and what users can expect to pay. We’ll also cover who might find this device beneficial and who should look for a different type of at-home sleep apnea test.
What Is Obstructive Sleep Apnea (OSA)?
OSA is a widespread sleep disorder that affects between 10 and 30 percent of adults in the U.S. It’s characterized by breathing disruptions that occur when a person’s upper airway collapses during sleep, leading them to snort, choke, gasp, or snore. Complete pauses in breathing are called apneas, while shallow breaths are referred to as hypopneas. Apneas and hypopneas occur when the soft palate, muscles around the throat, or tongue block a person’s breathing passage.
Medical professionals measure OSA severity by monitoring a person’s breathing during sleep to determine their apnea-hypopnea index (AHI). This is calculated by averaging the number of apneas and hypopneas that occur during each hour of sleep. In order to be diagnosed with OSA, a person must have a minimum AHI of 5.
|AHI Score||Sleep Apnea Severity|
Almost 1 billion people across the world have OSA, and there are some populations who are more likely to develop the disorder. Aging people, men and people assigned male at birth, those with a high body mass index (BMI), and people with above-average neck circumferences are all at higher risk for OSA. Common symptoms include loud snoring, restlessness, morning headaches, forgetfulness, and irritability.
The first step in treating OSA begins with a sleep study. In-person and at-home sleep apnea tests provide doctors with important data that help them determine the best treatment option for your individual needs. Leaving OSA untreated can result in increased risk of cardiovascular problems, workplace accidents, diabetes, and depression.
How Does the SleepImage Ring Work?
The SleepImage Ring monitors two sleep health metrics via a pulse oximeter that users wear on their finger. The data is sent to the accompanying SleepImage mobile app so that users and physicians can both view sleep health data in real time. The SleepImage Ring has two primary functions that help indicate OSA. It can also aid in diagnosing CSA.
- Heart rate: The ring measures your pulse and its fluctuations throughout the night. Apnea events affect a person’s heart rate, so this metric allows your health care team to track how your heart rate changes while you sleep.
- Blood oxygen level (spO2): Blood oxygen levels indicate how much oxygen is present in your bloodstream. Inadequate blood oxygen levels can reflect poor respiratory quality, as low blood oxygen levels often accompany apnea events. The SleepImage Ring monitors your blood oxygen levels to record any fluctuations that occur during sleep.
While other at-home sleep apnea tests offer as many as nine different sleep data points to help diagnose OSA, the SleepImage Ring only tracks a person’s heart rate and blood oxygen level. The device collects high-quality sleep data by running the two data sets through an algorithm that incorporates cardiovascular and sleep stage information.
SleepImage’s unique software provides proprietary measurements called the SleepImage Apnea Hypopnea Index (sAHI) and Sleep Apnea Indicator (SAI). The algorithm assigns users scores by analyzing their pulse and blood oxygen levels and comparing them to comprehensive sleep data research. The software helps your physician determine whether you have OSA by checking to see if your blood oxygen level and pulse measurements reflect the same patterns that appear during an in-person polysomnography test, which is a primary tool used to detect sleep disorders.
Using the test is straightforward but involves a few steps both before and after the study.
- Step 1: SleepImage Rings are only available for health care providers to purchase. Those interested in using the SleepImage Ring will need to locate a sleep specialist who uses this at-home test as part of a sleep study package.
- Step 2: Once you’ve found a provider who offers the device, they will provide it to you as a rental. Download the accompanying app and take care to perform the test according to the instructions.
- Step 3: When you finish the test, hit the stop button on your app. Your data will be instantly uploaded. From there, your doctor can view your data, accept or reject your results, and generate a report with your diagnosis.
- Step 4: Return the device to your health care provider and schedule a follow-up appointment to discuss your results. If your physician diagnoses you with sleep apnea, you may need to do an in-person sleep study or titration test to start continuous positive airway pressure (CPAP) therapy or another type of treatment plan.
How Do You Set Up and Use the SleepImage Ring?
Using the SleepImage Ring requires an Apple or Android device and a consistent internet connection. Before starting your sleep study, download the SleepImage mobile app and enter the login information provided by your physician. Make sure that Bluetooth is enabled in your phone’s settings, then put the ring on any finger. SleepImage recommends using your index finger or thumb.
The ring automatically turns on once you place it on your finger. Use the SleepImage app to search for the ring and select it when the name appears. Once the ring and your phone are paired, you can begin the study. Click the play button on the app before going to sleep. The app should show both your pulse and blood oxygen level. If you get up during the night and leave the Bluetooth range, make sure that the app begins recording again before going back to sleep.
When you wake up, press the stop button. Your test will be automatically uploaded to the SleepImage mobile app. The device is designed to last four nights on one charge, so it’s easy to repeat the test if your physician instructs you to do so. You can recharge the ring via USB. Your physician can access your sleep data through a secure portal once it’s uploaded to the app.
Who Should Use the SleepImage Ring?
The SleepImage Ring is an excellent choice for those seeking a low-maintenance sleep apnea test. This ring is easier to use than most other types of at-home tests and is approved for both children and adults by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA). The SleepImage mobile app makes it easy to see whether the test is working, and the USB charging port ensures you can complete a second test without having to get a new device.
The SleepImage Ring is a worthwhile choice for many sleepers, but there are certain individuals who might find it particularly beneficial.
- Those who already use a CPAP machine: Since this device only rests on your finger, it’s easy to use along with your PAP therapy machine. Gathering data while using your device can help your health care team gain insight into how well your treatment plan is working.
- Sleepers of all ages: The SleepImage Ring is FDA-approved for both children and adults, and the ring is intended to fit different finger sizes.
- People looking for a streamlined sleep apnea test: This at-home study requires fewer components than other styles of sleep apnea tests, making it a good option for those who have trouble sleeping while wearing a nasal cannula or effort belt.
- Those seeking basic information: The SleepImage Ring captures two sleep health metrics that are useful but not particularly in-depth. This device is best for people looking for baseline information.
- Tech-savvy users: While the accompanying app is easy to use, it is best for those who are tech-friendly and able to view their sleep data on their mobile devices.
This at-home sleep apnea test collects very limited data and relies on an algorithm to provide more in-depth information. It’s not a suitable choice for those who are looking for sleep stage, respiratory, or body movement metrics.
Pros and Cons of The SleepImage Ring
The SleepImage Ring offers several advantages that are worth considering if you’re looking for an easy-to-use at-home sleep apnea test.
- Minimally invasive: Most at-home sleep apnea tests have at least two wearable components, and some have as many as five. The SleepImage Ring is very unlikely to disrupt your sleep or make you uncomfortable.
- Rechargeable: If you have to repeat your test, you can recharge the device using the USB port. Other tests require you to send the device back to your doctor before performing the study a second time.
- Great initial intervention: If you want sleep data but aren’t sure if you need to schedule an in-person sleep study or comprehensive screening, this is an excellent first step that will give you better insight to your sleep health.
Though this device is extremely convenient, it does have a few significant limitations.
- Similar to other devices: If you’re only looking for blood oxygen level and pulse data, there are a range of other devices that may be more affordable and easier to access. These include sleep trackers, smart watches, and fitness trackers.
- Limited scope: This device lacks the in-depth monitoring that some at-home tests offer. It does not track breathing patterns, body movements, or brain waves.
- Additional testing likely needed: If your health care team determines you have sleep apnea, you might need a more in-depth at-home test or an in-person sleep study. If you’re prescribed CPAP therapy, you’ll also need to have a titration test to determine the correct pressure settings for your machine.
Cost, Shipping, and Returns
Since the SleepImage Ring can only be purchased by health care providers, users are only responsible for the cost of renting the device along with any other features that your health care team might include. The exact cost will vary depending on your physician and insurance provider, but it’s likely to be less expensive than an in-person sleep study. Those diagnosed with OSA will also need to schedule follow-up appointments that may add to the overall cost.
Medicare only covers certain types of at-home sleep apnea tests. The SleepImage Ring does not measure enough metrics to meet the requirements for these tests, so you’ll need to use private insurance or pay out of pocket to use this device. While a prescription is not required to use the device, you will need a medical professional to access your sleep report. Shipping and rental specifics vary by provider. The device does not carry a warranty.
The Bottom Line
The SleepImage Ring is an extremely comfortable and user-friendly at-home sleep apnea test. It’s an outstanding choice for people looking to take an easy first step toward better understanding their sleep health. The device uses a unique combination of software and sleep data monitoring to provide users with personalized sleep health reports.
The ring measures pulse and blood oxygen levels and uploads the information to an app, where your physician can view the details. Health care providers can use the SleepImage software to determine if the user’s data points indicate OSA. This ring is best suited to people who need to know whether they should take further steps toward better understanding their sleep health.
The SleepImage Ring only tracks two metrics, both of which are easy for users to determine without the device. However, when combined with the SleepImage software-generated report, the SleepImage Ring can give you a much better idea of whether or not you need an in-person sleep study or more comprehensive at-home test. If you think you may have sleep apnea and are unsure where to begin, the SleepImage Ring is worth considering.
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