Preparing for your appointment

By Mayo Clinic Staff

You're likely to first see your family doctor or a general practitioner. However, you may then be referred to a doctor who specializes in treating sleep disorders or an ear, nose and throat specialist.

Because appointments can be brief, and because there's often a lot to talk about, it's a good idea to arrive well prepared. Here's some information to help you get ready for your appointment, and what to expect from your doctor.

What you can do

  • Write down any symptoms you're experiencing, including any that may seem unrelated to the reason for which you scheduled the appointment. Ask your partner to describe what he or she hears or notices at night while you're sleeping.

    Or, better yet, ask your sleep partner to go with you to your appointment so that he or she can talk with your doctor about your symptoms.

  • Make a list of all medications, as well as any vitamins or supplements that you're taking.
  • Write down questions to ask your doctor.

Your time with your doctor may be limited, so preparing a list of questions can help you make the most of your time together. For snoring, some basic questions to ask your doctor include:

  • What makes me snore when I sleep?
  • Is my snoring a sign of something more serious, such as sleep apnea?
  • What kinds of tests do I need?
  • What happens during a sleep test?
  • What treatments are available for snoring, and which do you recommend?
  • What types of side effects can I expect from treatment?
  • Are there any alternatives to the primary approach that you're suggesting?
  • Are there any steps I can take on my own that will help my snoring?
  • I have other health conditions. How can I best manage these conditions together?
  • Are there any brochures or other printed material that I can take home with me? What websites do you recommend visiting?

In addition to the questions that you've prepared to ask your doctor, don't hesitate to ask questions during your appointment.

What to expect from your doctor

Your doctor is likely to ask you a number of questions. Being ready to answer them may reserve time to go over any points you want to spend more time on. Your doctor may ask:

  • When did you first begin snoring?
  • Do you snore every night or only once in a while?
  • Do you often wake up during the night?
  • Does anything you do seem to improve your symptoms?
  • What, if anything, appears to worsen your symptoms?
  • Does your bed partner ever tell you that you have pauses or irregularities in your breathing during sleep?

What you can do in the meantime

While you're waiting to see your doctor, here are some tips you can try:

  • Don't drink alcohol or take sedatives before bed.
  • Try over-the-counter nasal strips.
  • Sleep on your side, instead of your back.
  • If nasal congestion is an issue, try an over-the-counter decongestant for a day or two.
Nov. 07, 2012