Crucial sleep questions to ask your doctor

falling-asleep

It happens to all of us: We get to work in the morning and a co-worker asks, “How are you?” Your reply, “Tired.”

Everyone gets that way from time to time, but when it becomes a constant state, it might be time to talk to your doctor about sleep.

"Why am I so tired?"

"How can I stop snoring?"

Your primary care doctor can help answer these questions and sort through your sleep habits and get you feeling well rested.

According to the National Sleep Foundation, more than 60 percent of adults report having some sort of trouble sleeping more than once a week.

First, it’s helpful to start a sleep journal. Michael Barnes, M.D., Beaumont internal medicine, recommends writing down your typical night.

“Some people have trouble falling asleep, some struggle to stay asleep. What wakes them up or keeps them up? What do they do when they wake up and can’t fall asleep?” Dr. Barnes explains. “It’s helpful to know the average number of hours of sleep a patient gets, if they nap, fall asleep at work or get drowsy during the day when they shouldn’t.”

If you snore, a video of you sleeping can be good to show your doctor. It sounds odd, but having a partner or family member make a recording on their phone, and letting a physician view it, can be very helpful.

“Even a 20 second video can really increase or decrease the suspicion of a sleep disorder such as sleep apnea,” adds Dr. Barnes.

Sleep ties to many conditions and symptoms. For example, if you’ve been trying to lose weight. “There’s more and more evidence that poor sleep quantity or quality can totally change appetite and will power,” says Dr. Barnes. “A lot of people who have poor sleep struggle with weight loss.”

Quality and quantity also has a substantial connection to mood, anxiety, depression and even chronic pain.

Dr. Barnes explains, “Sleep and mood are clearly overlapped. Many adults experience memory loss, ADD and brain fog, but often times we find there’s a sleep-related issue causing or compounding the problem. Often, we see sleep problems worsening chronic pain, such as fibromyalgia, which improves when you improve sleep.”

Allowing your body to rest and recuperate after the day’s activities is important. If sleep eludes you, you don’t have to be fatigued forever.

Your primary care physician may refer you to a sleep medicine physician for more comprehensive sleep evaluation tests. Bringing your sleep issues up to your physician is the first step in finding a solution to get you back on track toward a better night's sleep.


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