Iowa Sleep Blog

Signs it’s time to see a sleep doctor

Thursday, January 22, 2015

Signs it’s time to see a sleep doctor

Sleeping is a natural function of the body, so it can be hard to tell when your “simple” sleep troubles are actually more complicated sleep disorders. Many don’t even realize their poor sleep can affect other aspects of their health such as their overall heart health, managing diabetes and controlling body weight. Many times, these sleep disorders can be easily fixed with the expertise of a sleep doctor, such as the team of Dr. Zorn and Dr. Grant at Iowa Sleep.

Here are four simple questions you can ask yourself about your sleeping habits:

1. Do I disturb others while I sleep?

Does your bed partner or other family members complain about your snoring or fidgeting in bed? Frequent snoring can be a sign of a sleep disorder known as an obstructive sleep apnea. In most cases, the sleeper won’t even realize it’s an issue until a partner or family member says something. If you constantly feel like you can’t get comfortable while in bed or have the urge to move your arms or legs, you could be suffering from Restless Leg Syndrome, which increases during the colder months.

2. Do you constantly feel fatigued, even when you’ve slept at least seven hours the night before?

Though they sleep throughout the night, many wake the next morning still feeling exhausted. They continue to feel tired throughout the day and experience drowsiness during normal activities, such as sitting at their desk, driving or during a meeting. These people also heavily rely on coffee, soda and other caffeinated drinks to stay alert and focused throughout the day.

Do you frequently experience difficultly falling asleep?

If you find yourself lying in bed each night waiting to fall asleep, this could be a sign there is something else going on. Insomnia is a sleep disorder that affects about 50 percent of adults who have trouble falling asleep. Many can’t seem to relax mind for sleep, or their internal clock, called a circadian rhythm, is off. Many older adults experience a type of insomnia where they fall asleep normally, but wake frequently during the night and cannot fall back asleep.

4. Do you experience unusual nighttime behaviors?

If you experience nightmares, sleepwalking or teeth grinding, you could be experiencing a parasomnia. These are behaviors that occur when people act out their dreams during a stage of their REM cycle. In most cases, a sleepwalker or someone experiencing a nightmare will have no idea what happened or what they were doing upon waking.

If you answered “yes” to any of these questions, you should consider seeing a sleep doctor. The doctors at Iowa Sleep can help you learn more about why you aren’t sleeping well, and help you correct any behaviors you are experiencing to help improve your sleep. Start off 2015 with a better night’s sleep from the team at Iowa Sleep.

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