Do you snore, have nightmares, or find it difficult to sleep? You may be suffering from a sleeping disorder that requires medical intervention. Sleep disorders cause adverse health and social outcomes without treatment. Patients who have sleep-related conditions see a sleep specialist for diagnosis and treatment. This article provides critical insights into sleep medicine.
What Is Sleep Medicine?
Sleep medicine focuses on preventing, diagnosing, treating, and managing sleep disorders. There is a wide range of sleeping disorders with symptoms like fatigue, breathing complications, abnormal activity in sleep, and excessive sleep. The goal of sleep medicine is to improve sleep amount and quality.
The following are the key types of sleeping disorders:
- Nightmare disorders
- Restless leg syndrome
- Sleep apnea
Who Are Sleep Specialists?
Sleep medicine takes a holistic look at the entire body, including the respiratory, circulatory, nervous, and endocrine systems. Thus, various health professionals care for patients with sleep disorders. The physicians include cardiologists, dentists, psychologists, anesthesiologists, pulmonologists, and neurologists. The common denominator for sleep physicians is that they must have additional training in sleep medicine.
A doctor certified in sleep medicine attends a medical school followed by a residency program for practical experience. Then, they enroll in a fellowship program in sleep medicine. Sleep medicine training focuses on the sleep processes, sleep disturbance, diagnosis for sleep disorders and treatments.
Diagnosis and Treatment for Sleeping Disorders
There are several tests and diagnostic procedures recommended by sleep physicians. The type of procedure depends on the sleeping disorder. Thus, the sleep doctor will first inquire about the symptoms. The physician may then order a blood test to diagnose underlying medical conditions. Besides, the doctors may use sleep logs and sleep disorder inventories to record and evaluate sleep habits.
A doctor can recommend one or many treatment approaches for a sleeping disorder. The specific method depends on the diagnosis and treatment goals. Essentially, treatment may include medications such as sleeping pills. Also, cognitive behavioral therapy may help people with insomnia identify and change problematic thoughts and behaviors. Devices like continuous positive airway pressure and oral appliances prevent blocked airways during sleep. Besides, surgical procedures are effective for snoring and sleep apnea as they help improve airflow. Lastly, the doctors also advise patients on good sleeping habits.
Do not let sleep disorder affect your health, productivity, safety, and mood. Consult a sleep medicine professional for proper diagnosis and benefit from the wide range of treatment, including medicine, oral appliances, and surgery.