Do you know that getting an extra 60 to 90 minutes of sleep each night can improve your mood and health? Yet one-third of Americans report being sleep-deprived. In that instance, you can be susceptible to gaining weight, developing insulin resistance, developing cardiovascular disease, and even experiencing despair. Obesity may develop as a result of sleep deprivation’s effects on appetite and hormone levels. Lack of sleep has been linked to feelings of nervousness and stress as well as impaired cognitive performance.
The good news is that you can always improve the quality of your sleep. Finding a sleep doctor who is able to meet your specific needs is the first step. Professionals in the field of sleep medicine are trained to identify sleep abnormalities and advise patients on the best treatment options available.
Choosing a sleep doctor might be difficult, but we’ll show you what to look for and what questions to ask below. How about we just jump in?
Do You Need a Sleep Specialist?
Sleeping enough hours each night is important for your health and wellbeing. This aspect of your way of life affects not just your disposition and actions, but also the caliber of your life overall. It controls your appetite, immune system, and brain power.
The information you have taken in during the day is organized and processed by your brain as you sleep. Hormones are secreted simultaneously to control hunger, tissue repair, and energy metabolism. You can help your brain get rid of toxins during sleep.
Although, the vast majority of us don’t sleep enough. Conditions including insomnia, RLS, stress, and chronic pain can all make it difficult to get to sleep and stay asleep. Sleep deprivation has been linked to an increased risk of developing depression, mental problems, and cardiometabolic diseases.
If you’re having trouble sleeping or keeping up with your regular activities due to exhaustion, it’s time to contact a doctor. Your doctor may evaluate your symptoms and make a recommendation about whether or not you should see a sleep specialist.
It’s entirely natural to have an occasional restless night. If the issue persists, however, medical attention should be sought. There are a few red flags to keep an eye out for:
- A good night’s sleep doesn’t seem to help, since you still feel drowsy and exhausted during the day.
- Inevitably, you wake up multiple times throughout the night and have a hard time getting back to sleep.
- You find it difficult to go to sleep.
- You open your eyes and realize you haven’t been able to breathe.
- You’re having trouble sleeping because of your snoring.
A sleep disturbance may be the cause of any of these symptoms. While general practitioners (GPs) can be helpful in some situations, they are not experts in treating sleep disorders such as sleep apnea, chronic insomnia, and so on. This is why requesting a referral to a board-certified sleep specialist from your primary care physician is essential.
What Is a Sleep Specialist?
Doctors that specialize in sleep medicine have completed specialized training. Insomnia, parasomnia, snoring, sleep apnea, and other sleep disorders are all within their purview of expertise.
Experts in their field, these doctors hold certification from the American Board of Sleep Medicine. Specialists in the field of sleep medicine can tailor a treatment plan to your individual requirements.
A pediatrician should be your first port of call if your kid has sleep issues.
Conditions like narcolepsy and sleepwalking, which can cause excessive daytime sleepiness, can be treated by psychiatrists. They help as well if you have trouble sleeping because of mental health issues including stress, worry, or sadness.
Both sleep apnea and bruxism can benefit from dental treatment. They instruct patients on the proper use of dental devices used to alleviate symptoms of sleep apnea.
If you suffer from snoring or any other issues related to throat congestion, an otolaryngologist can help. They may advise CPAP treatment or surgery, depending on the severity of your issue.
A specialist in behavioral sleep medicine may be able to help you if your sleep issues are the result of changes you’ve made to your daily routine.
On the other hand, a pulmonologist can help with respiratory diseases like asthma that disrupt sleep.
How to Locate Sleep Specialists Near You
Finding a sleep doctor in your area may seem impossible at first, but there are several resources available to assist you make an appointment.
Meet With Your Current Primary Care Doctor
Though difficult, discussing health concerns with your doctor can pay dividends by improving your ability to slumber comfortably each night and, in turn, your well-being. You should write down all the times you tried to change or reset your sleep regimen before consulting your primary care physician. Modifications that are applicable examples include:
- Changing bedtime
- Tweaking the Bedtime Routine
- Participating in either increased or decreased physical activity
- The purchase of fresh bedding.
- Changes to sleep hygiene, such as blocking out light or sound
Changes to sleep hygiene, such as blocking out light or sound
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Changes to sleep hygiene, such as blocking out light or sound
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Alterations to one’s sleep routine, such as the use of earplugs or blackout curtains,
Referrals from loved ones are another great resource when looking for a qualified sleep doctor. You could also ask others you know who have had sleep studies if they have any insights to share with you.
As an alternative, you may call around to the various hospitals in your area to see if any of them house sleep specialists or sleep clinics. If you think you have a sleep issue, you might look for support groups that specialize in that disorder online. It’s important to remember that you might require a diagnosis before consulting with these experts.
Other Specialists That Can Help With Sleep
There may be solutions outside sleep clinics and sleep specialists if you don’t feel comfortable with them. Psychologists, dentists, neurologists, and otolaryngologists are just a few of the additional medical professionals who can provide assistance with sleep problems.
Sleep Psychologists or Psychiatrists
Some mental health issues, such as depression, can be made worse by a lack of sleep. Psychologists that specialize in sleep investigate the phenomenon from multiple angles. Psychologists specializing in sleep disorders typically employ cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) to aid patients in changing their negative beliefs and habits that disrupt their sleep. Clinical research have demonstrated that CBT is useful for decreasing insomnia.
Psychiatrists who specialize in treating sleep disorders may recommend psychiatric drugs or other interventions, such as cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT), to assist their patients get a better night’s rest. When cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) and other behavioral approaches have not been successful, sleep psychiatrists may prescribe medication.
You can find a psychologist or psychiatrist who specializes in sleep disorders by doing an internet search.
Dentists, who specialize in the head and neck region, aren’t always thought of as potential sleep doctors. Dentists can make personalized mouth guards or other devices to improve sleep breathing. Locating a dentist who specializes in dental sleep medicine is made easier through the American Academy of Dental Sleep Medicine’s search tool.
It’s possible that neurological disorders underlie some cases of disturbed sleep. If you’re having trouble sleeping, seeing a neurologist may help rule out any underlying neurological conditions. Sleep problems can be caused by issues in the brain or the nerves that control movement. If you are concerned about any of these conditions, you should consult your primary care physician to be referred to a local neurologist.
Ear, Nose, and Throat Doctors
A subset of sleep problems affecting the upper airway can be diagnosed and treated by otorhinolaryngologists (the medical term for ear, nose, and throat doctors). If you need to see an otorhinolaryngologist in your area, ask your PCP for a referral. Additionally, you may wish to contact your insurance company to ensure that your visit will be covered.
What Are Signs I Need a Sleep Clinic?
Consider going to a sleep clinic if you have trouble sleeping for an extended amount of time. The inability to get to sleep or stay asleep, or to wake up feeling rested, are all indications of a sleep problem. There are many distinct sleep disorders, yet they often share common symptoms. Insomnia typically manifests itself in the following ways:
- Difficulty falling asleep or staying asleep
- Feeling groggy and exhausted upon waking.
- Experiencing a sharp, painful, or sudden increase in breathing difficulty upon awakening
- Daytime sleepiness despite receiving a full night’s rest (often between 7 and 9 hours)
- Having trouble focusing on work or finishing assignments
- Snoring so loud or violent that your lover says you sound like you’re choking on something
- If your significant other says you do things like sleepwalk or chat a lot while you’re asleep, it’s time to get some help.
How to Prepare for Your Appointment
Your primary care physician is probably the first point of contact when seeking to schedule an appointment with a sleep expert or arrange for a sleep study. It’s crucial to trust your doctor and feel safe in his or her care. This will assist your doctor take note of all of your complaints. The best way to find out what to expect from a sleep study is to ask your doctor any questions you have regarding the process.
In order to be well-prepared for your appointment, you should keep a sleep diary for a couple of weeks beforehand. Be prepared for your doctor’s appointment by keeping a journal or notepad by your bedside and writing down any symptoms you’ve been experiencing. When you’re in a hurry at the doctor’s office, it’s easy to miss details; this is a smart approach to make sure you cover everything relevant to your sleep patterns and symptoms.
What to Ask a Sleep Specialist
The initial consultation with a sleep doctor will involve general health and symptom history questions. They may suggest that you take part in a sleep study or other diagnostic procedures.
In order to keep track of your sleeping habits, a sleep study can be performed on you without causing any harm. After reviewing the findings, the doctor will give his or her professional opinion on how best to proceed with treatment.
Get your questions ready for a sleep doctor before proceeding. Have in mind the following queries:
- Is it possible that they think you have a sleep disorder?
- Is a sleep study something you ought to look into doing?
- Is the laboratory where the tests will be done recognized by the American Academy of Sleep Medicine?
- Who will evaluate your sleep study and explain the findings?
- Is it possible to visit the testing center in advance?
- Is there a chance that the drug you’re taking is causing your insomnia?
- How common is your snoring?
- To what extent do they judge your nighttime routine?
- Could you make any adjustments to your routine that would help you get more shut-eye?
After receiving a diagnosis, it’s important to discuss treatment options and future outcomes with your doctor. Is there anything complicated you need to know about? Can anything be done to save you from deteriorating further?
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