An exploration of sleep and insomnia, with a single destination in mind:
a good night's sleep.

Sunday, January 9, 2011

Looking for Sleep? Ask Your Doctor Where to Find It

The best place to start your quest for sleep may be your doctor. (And if you don't have one, consider visiting a nurse practitioner in your community. A nurse practitioner is a registered nurse who's undergone additional training in the treatment of disease, including chronic conditions.)

What can a doctor do for you? In addition to years of medical school, residency, and continuing education, your doctor has seen countless patients, many of whom have sleeping problems. Most people know only a handful of others with insomnia, but doctors have a wealth of practical experience dealing with the countless conditions that can contribute to sleeplessness.

More importantly, a doctor can diagnose any underlying medical condition that might be causing you to lose sleep. Sleep apnea, a condition in which you're not getting enough oxygen is one condition. (If your doctor suspects sleep apnea, he or she will suggest a sleep study.) Anxiety is another -- it can cause insomnia and it can be a result of insomnia. Hyperthyroidism can also lead to sleepless nights.

Your doctor will start with a thorough medical history. Tests, perhaps, may be warranted, too.  Or perhaps a visit to a specialist. Everything has a beginning, and when it comes to dealing with insomnia, the best place to start is with your doctor.

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