Patient seeking insomnia diagnosis from doctor

Insomnia Diagnosis

Are you one of the millions of people living night after night with insomnia?
Most people with sleep disorders go undiagnosed and untreated.  They often accept their insomnia as a normal part of life.  Also, sleep health is not routinely assessed during your annual health checkups.
Today there are lots of resources available to help with sleep issues.  The first step on the road to quality sleep is to schedule an appointment and get properly diagnosed.  Your doctor will likely refer you to a sleep specialist.
Depending on your situation, they will need to get clues about your insomnia through questioning, health reviews, and specific tests.
  1. Medical History Review
A doctor will review your medical history to see if there are health conditions that could be causing your insomnia.
Your doctor will look for:
  • health conditions such as asthma, heartburn, or diabetes
  • injuries that may be causing pain
  • prescription drug use
  • symptoms of anxiety and depression
  • life event such as a death or divorce
  • stressful day-to-day life issues
  1. Sleep History review
Poor sleep habits are a common cause of insomnia, so your doctor will need more detailed information about sleep history:
  • bedtime routine
  • sleep environment (noises, lighting, and other distractions)
  • bedtimes and wake up times
  • how long to fall asleep
  • how often do you wake up and how long does it take to get back to sleep
  • snoring
  • how do you feel when you wake up and throughout the day
To prepare for your appointment, you may want to keep a diary for a couple weeks and record each day things such as:
  • sleep times
  • naps
  • how you feel
  • alcohol and caffeine use
  • medication use
  • exercise
  • how stressed you are
  1. Written test
Anxiety, depression, and stress can result in poor sleep.  You may be given a written test to assess your mental and emotional well being.
  1. Physical Exam
Similar to a medical history review, you may be given a physical exam to check for other health issues that can cause insomnia.  This may include blood tests to check for conditions known to affect sleep in some people such as thyroid problems.
  1. Sleep Study
If your doctor suspects an underlying sleep disorder, they may recommend a sleep study called a polysomnogram.  It will commonly involve an overnight stay at sleep center where technicians can monitor your body while you sleep.

They will record things such as your brain activity, body movements, oxygen levels, air movement through your nose, and snoring.

Based on what your doctor learns from the medical reviews and tests, they can make an official diagnosis and recommend treatment.

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Important: is for informational purposes only and is not intended or implied to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment.  Always consult a physician for sleep and health concerns.  See additional information.