Sleep Education

American Academy of Sleep Medicine 

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Insomnia - Diagnosis & Self-Tests

If you think you may have insomnia, ask yourself the following questions:
  • Does it take you more than 30 minutes to fall asleep, or do you wake up during the night and have trouble returning to sleep, or do you wake up earlier than desired?
  • Do you have daytime symptoms such as fatigue, moodiness, sleepiness or reduced energy?
  • Do you give yourself enough time in bed to get at least 7 hours of sleep each night?
  • Do you go to bed in a safe, dark and quiet environment that should allow you to sleep well?
If you answered “yes” to all of these questions, then you may have insomnia.

If you’ve had insomnia for at least three months (chronic insomnia), consider booking an appointment with a board certified sleep physician at an AASM accredited sleep center. If you have had insomnia for fewer than three months, you may have short-term insomnia. Try to follow good sleep hygiene, and if the problem does not go away in three months, talk to a sleep physician.

A board-certified sleep physician can diagnose insomnia and work with the sleep team to treat it. Before your appointment, the doctor will ask you to keep a sleep diary for two weeks. By recording when you go to sleep and when you wake up, along with how long you were awake during the night, a sleep diary will help your sleep medicine physician see your habits. This may give your physicians clues about what is causing your insomnia and what course of treatment to take.

The board-certified sleep physician will need to know your medical history and whether you are taking any medications, including over-the-counter drugs. He will also want to know whether anything else has happened in your life, such as any event that is causing stress or trauma. The physician may give you a written test to analyze your mental and emotional well being. You may also receive a blood test if the physician suspects a related medical problem is causing insomnia.

You will not need an overnight sleep study unless the board-certified sleep medicine physician suspects you have sleep apnea or another sleep disorder.

Updated March 6, 2015

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