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How to talk to your doctor about sleep

If you're having problems with sleeping, you should talk to your doctor


Written by SpunOut | View this authors Twitter page and posted in health


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If you’re going through sleep problems, you’d do anything to get them fixed. The doctor should always be your first port of call, but you might be unsure as to how to even describe your sleep problems to your doctor, or what information you need to give them. If you’ve never been to the doctor for sleep problems before, you might not even know whether you should be going to the doctor at all.

Relax - if there is a health issue that is affecting you, you should always feel comfortable to go to the doctor and your doctor should always listen to you. Sleep is a serious and important part of your health, and your doctor should be glad to discuss it with you, and suggest solutions and treatments.

What your doctor may ask if you can't sleep

  • If you drink caffeinated drinks (coffee, tea) or alcohol, including how much and how often
  • If you exercise, including what type and for how long
  • If you nap, including what time and for how long
  • Your bedtime, and how long it takes you to fall asleep
  • How often you wake during the night
  • What time you wake in the morning
  • If you snore, snort, gasp or choke when you sleep
  • If you feel rested when you wake up
  • Any medical conditions that might interfere with sleep

This will help your doctor understand what kind of sleep you're getting and what the problem might be. Remember, sleep problems can be linked to mental health conditions, such as depression or anxiety, so let your doctor know if you’ve been feeling stressed or down too.

Once they get a good idea of what’s causing your sleep problems, they’ll be able to advise you on the next steps you should take.

Feeling overwhelmed or want to talk to someone right now?

If you are a customer of the 48 or An Post network or cannot get through using the ‘50808’ short code please text HELLO to 086 1800 280 (standard message rates may apply). Some smaller networks do not support short codes like ‘50808’

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Published April 24th2015
Last updated July 10th2018
Tags sleep help seeking insomnia
Can this be improved? Contact editor@spunout.ie if you have any suggestions for this article.
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