Hello Guest, Welcome to Apnea Board !
As a guest, you are limited to certain areas of the board and there are some features you can't use.
To post a message, you must create a free account using a valid email address.

or Create an Account

New Posts   Today's Posts

[Diagnosis] Normal SpO2 during sleep?
Normal SpO2 during sleep?
Hi everyone,

I am new to this forum :-). Hope I am posting this in the right subforum. 

I recently bought a pulse oximeter, because I suspect that I might have sleep apnea. Now I am wondering, what a normal oxygen saturation looks like during sleep? And if I could indeed have sleep apnea.

I did measure my SpO2 during a few nights. It turns out: I have different oxygen saturation patterns during sleep. Sometimes my oxygen saturation is fairly constant. But other times it can fluctuate.

I have attached two screenshots, both from the same night. The oxygen saturation is the blue curve. Both screenshots show one hour of sleep. But in the one screenshot, the oxygen saturation is varying much more, than in the other. Is that normal?

Post Reply Post Reply

Donate to Apnea Board  
RE: Normal SpO2 during sleep?
The 'hint' that you may have sleep apnea is in your SP02 Oximetry Report
Event Data -SP02- Adjusted Index.
This will be the number of times per hour that your Oxygen levels dropped by at least 4% for at least 10 seconds. Commonly referred to as ODI.(Oxygen Desaturation Index).
This is one of the criteria to diagnose sleep apnea.
It is not sufficient on it's own for a diagnoses but it's about as close as you can get without a sleep study.
An ODI > 10 is a strong indicator of moderate to severe sleep apnea.
Post Reply Post Reply
RE: Normal SpO2 during sleep?
I just did 3 nights with an oximeter

My results for one night are here:  http://www.apneaboard.com/forums/Thread-...#pid325652
Check it out

What I noticed is...
1) I wish my pulse was as low as yours!  I tend to race at 90 BPM.  I drink too much hot tea all day long.
2) My SpO2 levels swing by as much as 10% based on how irregular my breathing patterns are. You'll see that in my post.

Generally speaking, values of 90 and above are considered "good enough" by Doctors

According to google... click here: https://www.google.com/search?client=fir...gen+levels

Looking at your data, I'd expect to see something with your breathing at 3:50 if you had a full OSCAR chart. That's where your SpO2 drops suddenly.
Ditto the other places it drops to 90%.
Post Reply Post Reply
RE: Normal SpO2 during sleep?
Thanks for your answers.
And for posting your own charts. Very interesting!
For me it always depends on the nights. Some nights I sleep well. But often I wake up with a headache and I am really tired during the day.
Post Reply Post Reply

Donate to Apnea Board  
RE: Normal SpO2 during sleep?
That's the classic symptoms of low oxygen at night.
I can't tell if you live near sea level from your profile.
If you've ever visited the Rockies (for example skiing) you may have noticed the altitude headaches and difficulty sleeping.
In your case... maybe the Alps.

I think you could easily have some breathing issues based on those oxygen drops and your symptoms.
It wouldn't hurt to get it checked out.
I had my apnea undiagnosed and untreated for at least a decade and maybe two.

Not sure if you are single or not... has anyone ever detected that you stop breathing in the night?
Do you ever wake up gasping for air?  These are all tell-tale symptoms.
Post Reply Post Reply
RE: Normal SpO2 during sleep?
Individuals with severe obstructive apnea will usually show SpO2 below 90%, often in the 84 to 88 range. In your case, there are some notable drops in SpO2 accompanied by a rise in pulse. There appear to be at least 10/hour in the graph beginning at 03:40. These are likely respiratory event related arousals and may be apnea. The body does a pretty good job of protecting itself and treatable OSA may not always be accompanied by low SpO2. Your results would make me want to investigate further.

You might want to score your Epworth Sleepiness Scale (ESS) and consider if there are other indicators of apnea such as snoring, or comorbidity like weight, blood pressure etc. If additional factors are present than a sleep study is certainly justified.
Apnea Board Moderator

Download OSCAR Software
Soft Cervical Collar
Optimizing Therapy
Organize your OSCAR Charts
Attaching Files
Mask Primer
How To Deal With Equipment Supplier

Post Reply Post Reply
RE: Normal SpO2 during sleep?
Also keep in mind that not everyone experiences oxygen saturation rates the same. Some happen immediately. Some are delayed. Some seem to be accumulative.

Normal persons (no sleep apnea, no lung issues) have an O2 sat rate of 92 or higher during sleep. Even 90% or higher is acceptable.
People with UNtreated sleep apnea will see drops much lower than that. For example, mine dropped to 68% during the sleep test. But other than that, it "only" dropped into the upper 80s.
People with TREATED sleep apnea should see O2 sat rates be much like normal folks with occasional dips below 90 due to events.

The O2 sat rate does not drop just for giggles. The ONLY way it drops is if not enough oxygen is being given to the lungs for them to process. Sleep apnea events, bad dreams where one holds their breath, COPD, etc.

For comparison, I suggest you wear the oximeter during the day for several hours. Wear it while sitting calmly (reading a book) and wear it while moving around (working in shop). This will give you an idea of what your daily average is which you can then compare to your nightly. Otherwise, with nothing to base the nighttime readings to, it's almost kinda useless. Sure you can compare it to others, but what is YOUR norm?

Take a deep breath and count to zen.

Post Reply Post Reply

Donate to Apnea Board  
RE: Normal SpO2 during sleep?
I've been using a CMS-50F to record the same data for about a year and a half, and on average my numbers are very similar to yours through the night - for me these are what I see when using my Resmed Autoset 10 as well.  So whether it's "normal" for you or not, it's not unusual for me at all and I wouldn't worry about those charts.
Post Reply Post Reply
RE: Normal SpO2 during sleep?
I haven't actually looked at the attachments, but SPO2 of 90 and up are rather common for the majority of us when we sleep.  The nadir matters, but not just the nadir; it's the duration.  In fact, a somewhat fair or poor level of saturation is what eventually leads us to irritable heart and arrhythmias (my hand is up), poor sleep quality, weight gain, headaches that just won't quit, mood problems, and even relationship problems.

We don't know why you are experiencing desats, if that is what they really are.  If it's obstructive in nature, it isn't necessarily something internal, some defect.  I might just be that at times your chin gets tucked down closer to your chest, especially during back sleeping (supine), and if you use one or more pillows.  If you have ever stopped the flow on a garden hose by folding it over so you could move the sprinkler without having to go to the faucet, that's essentially what we're dealing with when we let our chins sag toward our chests....and it isn't just during supine sleeping.  I have found myself with my chin tucked while on my side.
Serial Tapist
Post Reply Post Reply
RE: Normal SpO2 during sleep?
Thanks for your answers. I will monitor it a bit more and see what happens. :-)
Post Reply Post Reply

Donate to Apnea Board  

Possibly Related Threads...
Thread Author Replies Views Last Post
  [CPAP] Is it normal to hear a subtle whistle when the machine is working? juanjo 24 4,023 05-27-2020, 06:44 PM
Last Post: UncollapseMeThroat
  Can such periods of variable breathing and corresponding SpO2 swings be avoided? 2SleepBetta 4 124 05-23-2020, 07:32 AM
Last Post: OpalRose
  It it normal to feel more tired when doing certain tasks? NoddingHacker 2 123 05-08-2020, 03:20 PM
Last Post: SarcasticDave94
  SpO2 last night unidee 5 307 04-15-2020, 11:12 PM
Last Post: Jeff8356
  CPAP sleep vs "normal" sleep. Sleepgains 8 355 03-16-2020, 05:19 PM
Last Post: Sleepgains
Question When I snooze my alarm, wake up groggy and have high SpO2 100% with hands cold. MyronH 1 197 02-22-2020, 11:50 AM
Last Post: Crimson Nape
  SPO2 data on some Fitbit devices Clay L 3 402 02-01-2020, 10:11 AM
Last Post: Clay L

New Posts   Today's Posts

About Apnea Board

Apnea Board is an educational web site designed to empower Sleep Apnea patients.