Insomnia is a common disorder, with about one in every three people reporting at least mild insomnia. Any habitual loss of sleep can lead to consequences. These range from poor performance at work or school to increased risks of heart disease, obesity, and anxiety disorders. Don’t wait too long to talk to a doctor about your problems falling asleep or staying asleep. Treatment can help, but you have to take the first step.
Before you see your doctor, it’s helpful to keep track of how much sleep you’re getting. A sleep log can allow your doctor to recommend suggestions. For example, many people make the mistake of sleeping in on weekends to catch up on lost sleep. But actually, this only disrupts your established sleep/wake cycle. Keep track of the times you go to bed and wake up each day. Make any other relevant notes, such as “Drank two alcoholic beverages,” “Laid awake for hours,” or “Felt exhausted all day.”
It’s easy to tell if insomnia is affecting your health. You’ll be very sleepy during the day, have problems concentrating, and might experience unusual irritability. But sometimes, a person’s sleep deprivation isn’t due to insomnia, but to sleep apnea. This is another sleep disorder that requires treatment to prevent severe health complications. Let your doctor know if your sleep partner has complained that you snore regularly and loudly. Sleep apnea can also be indicated by audible gasping or choking sounds during the night, dry mouth and throat upon waking, and headache.
It’s quite possible that your insomnia and other medical diagnoses are related. Sleep apnea, for example, can increase the risk of high blood pressure, obesity, and diabetes. Discuss your full medical history to help your doctor pinpoint a pattern of health issues.
Chronic insomnia can lead to serious consequences for your health. Visit Sleep Dynamics to talk to our sleep medicine specialists serving central New Jersey. Get in touch at (848) 217-0240 or browse our website to learn more about sleep disorders.