_ Research about sleep and its association with health problems have abound over the past year. Yet even with all this research many people do not know when to approach their doctor if they have questions. Even if they do have questions they wonder when medication will help and when to ask if they need a sleep test. The more informed you are the more likely you will get the care you need.

If you are snoring during the night and it is loud enough to keep someone else awake you should talk to your doctor about having a sleep test. Snoring can be a sign of sleep apnea which is a blockage of the upper airway when you fall asleep. This causes disrupted sleep, increased work of breathing, decreased oxygen levels and increase pressure on the heart. Not everyone who snores has sleep apnea but it is something that should be discussed.

Not everyone who has sleep apnea snores. There are other issues that can be indications of sleep apnea. If you wake up to go to the bathroom more than 2 times a night that is something that you should discuss because it might be sign that you have sleep apnea during REM sleep, or when you dream. If you find yourself tossing and turning all night long than you should tell your doctor when you go in for your yearly physical.

If you are taking medication and you are experiencing insomnia than you should take the time to talk to your doctor. Many medications including over the counter medications have insomnia as a side effect. It can also be the effect of mixing medication or supplements. Whenever you see your physician you should not just tell them what medications you are taking but also any vitamins, supplements or over the counter medications you take. If you have not changed medication than you should keep a sleep diary for 2 weeks before you see your doctor. If there is anything affecting your sleep he or she will be able to have a good idea or you may see something in your routine you can change that will help you to sleep better.

If you are having insomnia issues and they have lasted longer than a few weeks. You might want to talk to a sleep coach or look into cognitive behavioral therapy to help evaluate sleep and to help you to change some of the behaviors that are causing the insomnia. New research has found that CBT is more effective than medication.

Many people who think they are depressed or are very fatigue may have a sleep disorder that they are missing. We many not notice out own snoring or disrupted sleep but we do notice the effects of sleep deprivation. Taking a simple Epworth Questionnaire will let you know if you should have your sleep evaluated due to fatigue. Since this questionnaire is subjective it is very important that you are honest not just with the doctor but with yourself. If you come home from work every night and sit in your recliner and go to sleep even if you slept 7-8 hours that is not normal. If however you get sleepy around 3pm, but you have no real difficulty staying awake, that is a normal part of our body’s internal clock and does not need to be evaluated.

The best thing about evaluating your sleep is that if you do have a sleep issue and it is treated you will feel better and have more energy. You may not have known that your sleep was being effected but a little self evaluation is always helpful before visiting your physician. It will help you to keep yourself healthy and have a much more productive time when you do have to see your doctor.


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