What is a Sleep Specialist?
When it comes to sleep or lack of sleep, you must investigate with your doctor why you experience insomnia. It is normal to experience a few sleepless nights. However, if you routinely experience sleeplessness, this can affect your health in negative ways. When you have trouble falling asleep or staying asleep, you may have insomnia. Constant insomnia can cause:
- Increased risk for accidents and injuries
- Cause chronic health problems
There are specialist doctors for various chronic illnesses such as insomnia. Insomnia is a severe condition that a specialist doctor must investigate and find solutions that increase your sleep hours and put you into peaceful, restful REM sleep. REM sleep is when you enter into a deep, deep sleep. REM sleep is where you may experience a dream.
An insomnia doctor can be:
- A Primary Care Doctor
- A Pediatrics Doctor
- Sleep Medicine Doctor
- A Doctor of Neurology
- A Doctor of Psychology
- Psychiatry Doctor
- Alternative Medicine MD or DO
Your primary doctor might order a sleep study for you at your local hospital if the recommendations they gave you to try did not. This sleep study shows the doctor how you sleep and at what level. A sleep study determines if you require a sleep aid such as C-Pap or Bi-Pap every night. Some people may need a bit of oxygen due to oxygen levels falling at night. Well over three-quarters of the American populace suffer from some insomnia.
Before going to bed, your technician hooks you up to at least 25 electrodes attached to your body and head in the sleep lab. These electrodes read your brainwaves, eye movement, muscle activity, heart rate, leg movements, oxygen levels, and if you breathe through your nose or mouth.
The sleep specialist finds practice in the medical or psychological arena. These specialists earned an MD, Ph.D., or DO and trained to diagnose and treat an of the recorded 88 sleep disorders. These specialists are members of the American Board of Medical Specialties and passed the board. You may see the title, Dr. M. Smith, ABSM.
The most common sleep disorders include:
- Insomnia and Chronic Insomnia
- Sleep Apnea
- Restless Legs Syndrome
- Brain Imbalance
You may go to a sleep doctor when you consistently do not get enough sleep, suffer from chronic fatigue during the day, feel sleepy, tired, and experience a loss of energy. These symptoms are enough to have your primary care doctor send you to a sleep specialist. It takes a sleep doctor’s expertise to determine what sleep disorder you suffer and the best possible treatment plan to correct your insomnia. The doctor reviews your sleep pattern and that of your partner. Your partner’s bedtime pattern can affect your overall sleep pattern if they need the television on all night or a light burning. Perhaps you cannot sleep with these things. There are many treatment options such as those listed below.
- Behavioral Therapy
- Talk Therapy
- Lifestyle Changes
- Specific medical devices
- Medication to enhance sleep
- Dental appliances
- Surgery interventions such as for a deviated septum
- Psychiatric Consult
Children Can Have Insomnia
If you think that your child has insomnia, the right place to start is your pediatrician. Many times, the pediatrician can diagnose insomnia and appropriate treatment. However, your pediatrician may refer your child to a pediatrician with additional training in behaviors, learning issues, and development.
How Can a Sleep Specialist Help with Insomnia?
A sleep specialist can help you with insomnia because this is their expertise. This doctor joins your primary doctor as a part of your healthcare team. The sleep specialist may start with a physical exam if you do not know your insomnia source, as the underlying problem could be a medical problem. Blood tests may be done as thyroid problems can cause insomnia.
The specialist reviews your sleep habits through a series of questions. You may be asked to keep a sleep diary for a week or two. If your body indicates you may have sleep apnea or restless legs, you may need to spend one night in a sleep study lab to determine the problem. Additionally, your sleep specialist may recommend the following.
- Order Stress Therapy.
- Address underlying medical conditions.
- Address medications causing insomnia or order medications that may help insomnia.
- Order cognitive-behavioral therapy.
- Address relaxation techniques like biofeedback, breathing exercises.
- Order cognitive behavioral therapy to help develop good sleep habits.
- Ask you to set consistent bedtime and wake times.
- Avoid naps during the day.
- Recommend you leave the bed if you cannot get to sleep in 20 minutes, read, write, and do anything likely to make you sleepy. Then return to bed.
- The doctor may recommend light therapy.
- May prescribe long-term use sleeping pills as a last resort due to these medications’ side effects.
- Consider lifestyle Changes.
- Develop a sleep schedule and stick to this schedule every day.
- Stay active during the day.
- Review medications with your doctor to see if any side effects cause insomnia.
- Limit caffeine, alcohol, and nicotine.
- Address pain issues.
- Avoid eating three hours before bedtime.
- Sleep in a room that has fresh air circulating and is a bit cooler.
- Take a warm bath or shower before bed, read a book in bed, listen to music or audio stories, pray.
- Do not go to bed too early.
- Be sure to get out of bed if you are not sleeping and do not return until you believe you can go to sleep.
In conclusion, insomnia can be a serious health risk if you experience this several times a month. Insomnia leads to sleep deprivation and sleep-deprivation leads to other health issues such as cardiac issues, depression, and behavior concerns such as overeating and obesity. Insomnia leads to social issues such as problems at work, low work output, increased risk for accidents and injuries. If you suffer from insomnia, make an appointment with the doctor, and talk over your concerns.
We are a level four trauma center hospital with over nine different specialty departments serving Gainesville, Texas, and surrounding areas. If you are in need of a doctor and need help with insomnia, contact us online, give us a call today at 904-665-1751, or stop by for a visit. We are devoted to the education of our communities we serve and are devoted to giving quality health care for everyone.