On polysomnographs, apnea, oximeters, ANT+, and data recorders.

I did a bunch of research tonight on using oximiters and heart rate monitors for helping to diagnose sleep apnea.

I think I might have a mild sleep apnea. I was diagnosed before but the sleep lab was so pathetic that I just completely wrote off the results and never really went back.

It turns out that from what I can gather , polysomnographs are insanely expensive (like $2k per night). These are the sleep studies they run with an EEG, ECG, oximeter, etc.

Further, you can’t do one at home, and continually run sleep studies every night.

A Zeo, oximeter, and heartrate monitor could be used ot build a cheap polysomnograph. I have most of the hardware already but if you started from scratch you could build a decent one for like $750.

Not FDA approved by any means but once you’re diagnosed you can use this setup to test various sleep experiments (along with subjective quality of life measurements).

The biggest problem is that the oximeters are all targeted for active monitoring. They do no data recording.

It’s about $500 for one that does data recording and they don’t export to anything but a PC running Windows.

I’d love a way to hack something together to build a simple external data recorder.

One thing I want to play with is the ANT+ python module Kyle Machulis is writing in OpenYou

I can use this to avoid having to first upload my data to Garmin and THEN analyze the data after the event. It will make it much easier to analyze and I could in theory even analyze the data in real time.

This would give me heart rate data as well as blood oxygen. Of course, most of the oximeters also include pulse rate so I might not need to wear a strap any more.


  1. Travis

    Kevin,
    A friend just recently turned me onto your blog.
    I though I had sleep aponea.
    I had a sleep study done. Not full on aponea, they wanted to put me on a CPAP. I told them hell no, I’m not that serious and who can go backpacking when you are addicted to a CPAP?
    The only real “cures” is surgery or loosing weight.
    I don’t have any weight to loose.

    But I did 4 things that changed my life.
    1. Neti-pot every night before bed.
    2. Breathe Right Nasal Strips
    3. No more sleeping on my back.
    4. Deviated Septum Surgery and Turbinectomy (essentially nose roto-rooter and alignment.)

    While the effects of the latter are hard to measure due to a 2 week recovery period. The first 2 gave me immediate results.
    I hope this helps you!






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