If you're having sleep problems, you'll likely start by talking to your primary care doctor.
What you can do
To get ready for your appointment:
- Ask if there's anything you need to do in advance, such as keeping a sleep diary. In a sleep diary, you record your sleep patterns — bedtime, number of hours slept, nighttime awakenings and awake time — as well as your daily routine, naps and how you feel during the day.
- Make a list of any symptoms you're experiencing, including any that may seem unrelated to the reason for the appointment.
- Take key personal information, including new or ongoing health problems, major stresses or recent life changes.
- Make a list of all medications, vitamins, or herbal or other supplements that you're taking, including dosages. Let your doctor know about anything you've taken to help you sleep.
- Take your bed partner along, if possible. Your doctor may want to talk to your partner to learn more about how much and how well you're sleeping.
- Make a list of questions to ask your doctor, to make the most of your appointment time.
For insomnia, some basic questions to ask your doctor include:
- What is likely causing my insomnia?
- What's the best treatment?
- I have these other health conditions. How can I best manage them together?
- Should I go to a sleep clinic? Will my insurance cover it?
- Are there any brochures or other printed material that I can have? What websites do you recommend?
Don't hesitate to ask questions any time during your appointment.
What to expect from your doctor
A key part of the evaluation of insomnia is a detailed history, so your doctor will ask you many questions.
About your insomnia:
- How often do you have trouble sleeping, and when did the insomnia begin?
- How long does it take you to fall asleep?
- Do you snore or wake up choking for breath?
- How often do you awaken at night, and how long does it take you to fall back to sleep?
About your day:
- Do you feel refreshed when you wake up, or are you tired during the day?
- Do you doze off or have trouble staying awake while sitting quietly or driving?
- Do you nap during the day?
- What type of work do you do?
- What is your exercise routine?
- Do you worry about falling asleep or staying asleep?
About your bedtime routine:
- What is your bedtime routine?
- What do you typically eat and drink in the evening?
- Do you currently take any medications or sleeping pills before bed? Have you ever used sleeping pills in the past?
- What time do you go to bed at night and wake up in the morning? Is this different on weekends?
- Where do you sleep? What's the noise level, temperature and lighting in this room?
- How many hours a night do you sleep?
About other issues that may affect your sleep:
Oct. 07, 2013
- Have you experienced stressful events recently, such as divorce, loss of a job or increased demands at work?
- Do you use tobacco or drink alcohol?
- Do you have any family members with sleep problems?
- Have you traveled recently?
- What medications do you take regularly?
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