It is not uncommon to experience sleep problems from time to time. Moments of stress, caffeine intake, and even eating certain foods before bed can make it difficult to get a good night’s rest. However, if sleep problems are persistent and interfere with your day to day life, it may be time to talk to your doctor.
Signs of a sleep disorder
- Chronic difficulty sleeping
- Loud snoring or interrupted breathing during sleep
- Tiredness during the day or inability to perform normal daytime tasks
It can be helpful to keep a journal documenting your sleep experiences, how many hours you sleep each night, your alcohol and caffeine intake, what you ate that day, and how tired you feel during the day. This will help you notice patterns in your life when it comes to your sleep schedule, and it can also be helpful for your doctor when evaluating your sleep concerns.
Sleep Disorders: What to Look For
Below are some questions to ask yourself. Keep track of your answers in a journal and note whether the answers change from day to day.
- Do you ever fall asleep while driving?
- Do you struggle with staying alert and paying attention at work or school?
- Do you have difficulty remembering things?
- Do you find it hard to control your emotions?
- Have you noticed performance issues at school or work?
- Have other people noticed that you seem tired or dazed?
If you find that the answer to these questions is most often, “yes,” you may have a sleep disorder.
Treating Sleep Disorders
If you are concerned that you may have a sleep disorder, your doctor may recommend some tests in a sleep lab. A sleep lab allows your heart and brain to be monitored while you sleep, and then a sleep specialist can analyze the results and determine if they point to a sleep disorder.
Treatment for sleep disorders depends on factors like the type of disorder and the age of the patient. Some sleep disorders can be treated simply by making adjustments to the sleep schedule or bedtime routine, making the sleep environment more comfortable, or making changes in a person’s diet.
In other cases, medication may be needed. Once you know the cause of your sleep problems, your doctor can help you determine which treatment is right for you.
Sleep problems can have numerous affects on overall health and daily activities, so it is important to address and concerns or issues you may have. Often simply pinpointing the problem and making small adjustments to your routine can make a big difference. Talk to your doctor about the best way to address your sleep problems so that you can ensure that you consistently get a good night’s sleep.