How to Talk to Your Doctor about Sleep
So when was the last time your health care provider asked about your sleep and whether you were facing any problems associated with it? Do you feel awkward in bringing up the topic yourself about the sleeping problems you are having lately? Well, you shouldn’t, as this is not an issue that should be taken lightly.
According to an online poll, eight out of ten people agree to the fact that it is the responsibility of both the patient and doctor to talk about sleeping problems during a visit. Even if you are not suffering from a sleeping disorder, but having trouble in falling asleep or waking up in middle of the night occasionally; it can make it difficult for you to perform daily tasks efficiently.
When is it High Time to Consult a Doctor?
The first and foremost thing is that you should see a doctor as soon as you realize that your sleeping problem is actually a problem in your opinion. Still, if you are confused whether your problem is serious enough to be consulted with a doctor, then go through the below stated points:
- You are constantly staying drowsy throughout the day or unable to fall asleep even after spending hours in bed trying to sleep.
- Your wakefulness during the night or any other sleep-related problem has continued for more than 6 weeks
- You think that your problem is associated with a serious incident like a terrible accident, interpersonal relationship issues, fear of losing job, etc.
- You have to take sleeping pills every other day to put yourself to sleep and think that you are becoming dependent on them
- Having clear signs of insomnia or suffering from hypersomnia
- Your partner is sick of your loud snoring or kicking during sleeping and you want to stop doing that
- When it seems the sleeping problems persists even when you have tried everything to get rid of them.
Do you recognize anything like this happening with you lately? If yes, then now, it is a high time that you pay your doctor a visit and have a detailed session regarding your sleeping problems.
How to Communicate with Your Doctor?
Before moving on, just remember that you know your symptoms and history better than anyone else does. So don’t feel embarrassed to tell the doctor about anything. Doctors deal with many patients on a daily basis, so whatever your symptoms are, they have already heard them before from someone else and nothing will surprise them.
Here are some techniques that can help you to clearly explain your condition to the doctor:
- Make a list of questions that you want to ask beforehand. Anyone can easily get nervous or forget important questions when discussing serious health issues. A list will make sure you don’t miss any important questions. Since doctors have limited time for each patient, so make the questions precise and ask the important ones first.
- Take a notepad and pen with you. Note down the important points so that you can review the doctor’s instructions and responses later. Moreover, it will help the doctor remember what you discussed with him or her on your last visit.
- Ask again if you don’t understand any technical term or phrase right away. If anything stays unresolved, note it down and ask your doctor to discuss it in more detail in the next visit.
- If you think any answer of the doctor is unclear to you, request him or her to explain it to you again.
Some Questions to Think Over before Your Appointment
To develop a better understanding of your problem, the doctor might ask you some questions regarding your sleeping habits. Before the appointment, think over the following questions that the doctor will mostly likely ask during your session:
- How often do you have the sleeping problem and how long you have been experiencing it?
- How much time does it take you to fall asleep?
- How many times do you wake up at night and how long does it take you to go back to sleep?
- What are your sleeping and waking up timings in working days? Do they differ from the weekends?
- How do you feel when you wake up? Does your body feel tired and sleepy during the day?
- How often do you doze off or take a nap? Do you unintentionally fall asleep during routine tasks like watching TV or driving?
- Do you feel like choking, gasping for air or breathless after waking up at night?
- Does your partner report that you hold breath during sleeping or snore loudly?
It is advisable that to make a sleep diary and note down the timings of sleeping and waking up during the night and in the morning for one or two weeks. Also, include how your body felt throughout the day and all the things that you deem are the cause of your sleeping problem. This will greatly help the doctor understand your case and they will be able to provide you with proper diagnosis.