A major problem with studying the prevalence of sleep disorders is the high cost. We tested a portable home recording system which can decrease the cost of screening sleep recordings. Twenty-four senior volunteers and 12 patients referred to our sleep disorders clinic were studied for two nights. On one night, recordings were done in the laboratory with a traditional polysomnogram and the portable home recorder. On another night, portable home recorders were used in the subjects' homes. Of 36 subjects, 42% had sleep apnea and 39% had nocturnal myoclonus. Intermethod correlations were highly significant for sleep apnea index, nocturnal myoclonus index, total sleep period (TSP), total sleep time (TST), and wake time after sleep onset (WASO). The portable home recorder detected sleep apnea on 100% of nights during which sleep apnea was diagnosed by polysomnogram. The labor-saving and cost-saving benefits of home recordings as well as the increased comfort, privacy, and convenience will make the portable home recording the preferred method for many research and clinical applications.