Insomnia is a sleep disorder characterized by inadequate quality of sleep. This condition can make it difficult to fall asleep, or stay asleep, or may cause someone to wake too early and not be able to get back to sleep. This can lead to problems such as poor concentration and irritability during the day. The good news is that there are a variety of effective tests available to diagnose insomnia and ensure the most appropriate treatment can be recommended.
According to the Sleep Foundation, as many as 50-70 million people are estimated to be affected by ongoing sleep disorders, with insomnia believed to affect between 9-15% of adults in the United States. Having insomnia can cause a host of problems, such as daytime tiredness, lethargy, slowed thinking, memory problems, delayed reflexes, and mood disruptions like anxiety, irritability, and depression. If left untreated, it can impact many areas of life, including performance at work or school, relationships, and overall health.
When To See a Doctor
Sleep habits and needs can vary greatly between individuals and can change throughout the course of life. Some people are naturally early risers, while others are night owls, and there are people who need more sleep than others, but the average healthy adult requires 7-8 hours of sleep per night.
Sleep is as crucial for your health as eating healthily and getting regular exercise. If insomnia is having an impact on your daily life and is making it difficult for you to function properly, you should see a doctor. They can help identify the cause of the disorder or may refer you to a sleep medicine specialist for further investigation and treatment.
In some cases, insomnia can be the primary problem, or it may be associated with other medical conditions, such as diabetes, chronic pain, Parkinson’s disease, or certain drugs, such as antidepressants or blood pressure medications. Usually, insomnia is diagnosed using a combination of methods. This can include:
- An evaluation of medical history, medications, sleep habits and routines, personal circumstances, symptoms, lifestyle, and other factors
- Keeping a sleep diary
- Lab tests, such as blood tests
- Sleep studies
- Actigraphy tests (wearing a device that tracks sleep patterns)
How A Sleep Study Can Help
In many cases, a sleep study is required to effectively diagnose a sleep disorder, such as insomnia or sleep apnea. Most are performed in a sleep study center, but sometimes, it may be possible to do the sleep study at home. Sleep centers are designed to be restful and home-like, with your own comfortable, private room. Depending on your regular sleep habits, schedule, and preferences, you may carry out your sleep study overnight, or during the day if you work nightshifts, for example.
A sleep study is a diagnostic test that involves monitoring the activity of different body systems while you sleep. This can include brain waves, heart rate, breathing and the respiratory response, and body and eye movement. There will also be video and audio monitoring to record your sleep study. This is so the sleep specialist or technician can check to see and hear what is happening if they find any unusual readings from the sensor data while you are sleeping. If there are concerns, they can compare and synchronize the visual, auditory, and sensor data together to get more information.
After the sleep study, all the collected data will be reviewed and interpreted by a sleep specialist to form a diagnosis and determine the best treatment for your condition. This may include medications, lifestyle changes, a CPAP machine, or learning new strategies to retrain your mind and body to sleep more efficiently.
What To Expect During Your Sleep Study
Before your sleep study, your sleep specialist or technician will thoroughly explain the procedure and address any concerns or questions that you may have. You will be shown to your room where you can make yourself comfortable and change into your sleepwear.
Small sensors and electrodes will be placed on your head, chest, arms, and legs by your technician to allow them to monitor you throughout your study. You will then be encouraged to go about your normal routine, such as reading or watching TV, before going to sleep. This is to try to ensure the results are as accurate as possible.
Once completed, all the sensors will be removed, and you will be able to leave the sleep center. You will then be invited back for a follow-up consultation to go through your results.
Sleep Study in Weatherford, Texas
At Lung & Sleep Specialists of North Texas, our sleep medicine specialists are dedicated to helping you completely understand your sleep condition. We diagnose and manage a variety of sleep disorders, including insomnia, sleep apnea, narcolepsy, restless legs syndrome, and more, to help improve your sleep quality and overall health. We can provide you with the education and tools you need to better manage your sleep disorder.