Do You Need Sleep Therapy? What to Expect
Summary: You may be worried about going to a sleep specialist or a therapist, but it won’t be upsetting. At these sessions, you and the specialist will talk about what is preventing your sleep and what treatments are appropriate.
Sleep! We don’t sleep enough or we sleep too much. We worry because we are not asleep and we hope we can stay awake long enough to complete our responsibilities. It seems so frustrating, and yet, it should be so simple. Why can’t we just go to sleep?
When Is It Time to See a Doctor?
Simple sleep problems can usually be handled by changing diet, routine, or making a change to the environment you are sleeping in. But sometimes it needs more attention; if so, it is time to visit a sleep specialist. It is time to worry when you can’t sleep at night, and also have trouble staying awake during the day. Once you determine if you have a sleep disorder, your doctor can determine sleep therapies that will help.
What Sleep Disorder Do You Have?
The first thing that will happen is that you and your doctor will try to find out what brought you to the office. There are many types of sleep disorders, each of them needing a different kind of treatment. Perhaps you have insomnia, difficulty falling asleep. The key is finding out why. Have you had a change recently in your personal life, or added stress? This kind of insomnia probably won’t last, but chronic insomnia caused by a change in routine, diet, or a medical condition can be ongoing. You and the doctor will work together to determine what the problem is and the best way for you to work towards change. Medication is rarely the best solution in these cases.
Obstructive Sleep Apnea
If you are ready to sleep and you fall asleep, only to wake up again in a terror of being unable to breathe, or perhaps your snoring is waking you up, or a combination of both, then perhaps you have obstructive sleep apnea, where your airways become blocked in the night and you wake yourself to breathe. This can be very damaging to sleep because sometimes patients wake themselves many times a night. Sometimes the only way they can tell is that their partner complains about snoring, and they feel very tired during the day.
A doctor may suggest that you go through a sleep study so they can see what may be interfering with your sleep and diagnose sleep apnea, or sleepwalking or narcolepsy. For this, you may need to go to a sleep centre overnight, where you will sleep with an EEG monitoring your REM patterns through the night. You should be taken to a comfortable room designed for rest. You can bring your own personal items with you, but before you sleep, a technologist will place the sensors on our body. You will still be comfortable and these should not stop you from sleeping.
From here your doctor will be able to recommend effective treatments, like wearing a sleep mask that will help you improve your day by working towards a good night sleep.