How to Talk to Your Doctor about Your Sleep
June 9, 2010
When was the last time your family doctor or health care provider asked about your sleep during an office visit? An online health care professional poll revealed that approximately eight out of ten doctors believe that it is the responsibility of both the patient and the health care professional to discuss sleep during an appointment, but more than half did not feel they had enough time to do so.
Even occasional sleeping problems can make daily life difficult. Lack of sleep can make you irritable and impatient, decrease concentration, compromise your safety on the road or at work, and lead to health problems. Most sleep disorders can be successfully treated or controlled once properly diagnosed, but the first step is identifying problem.
If you have trouble falling asleep, maintaining sleep, awaken earlier than you wish, feel un-refreshed after sleep, or suffer from excessive sleepiness during the day, talk to your family doctor. Record your sleep and sleep-related activities in a sleep diary.
You can save time by coming to your visit prepared. Bring your completed sleep diary to your office visit. Mention any sleep tips you’ve already tried and for how long. Also, write down your questions for the doctor, and bring any medicines you are taking with you. There may be an underlying cause for your sleep problem, and proper diagnosis is an important first step to resolving it. Your doctor will help treat the problem or may refer you to a sleep specialist.
Sleep disorders centers are staffed by physicians and other medical professionals with specialized training in sleep medicine. They will ask you detailed questions about your sleep problems and may monitor your sleep overnight before recommending a specific treatment.
Take responsibility for your health and well-being. Make sleep a part of the conversation between you and your family doctor or health care provider. Everyone deserves a good night’s sleep.
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