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Diagnosing Insomnia

by Michael Crichton / Nov 17, 2017 / category : Insomnia / 3467 views
Diagnosing Insomnia

It’s important to diagnose the cause of any sleep disturbance in order to restore healthy sleep. Unfortunately, there is not much agreement, even among experts, on the best methods to assess a person’s insomnia.

Some difficulty is presented by the nature of insomnia, such as its subjective nature. There are those who think they have insomnia where in actual fact, they are only having brief awakenings and only think they are continuously awake. If a person is suffering from daytime fatigue and impaired concentration and memory, however, the chances are good that their problem classifies as insomnia.

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Questionnaires have been developed for the purpose of determining whether someone has insomnia or other sleep disorders. Your physician may ask a number of questions like how you would describe the sleep problem, how long it’s been going on, if you have trouble getting to sleep or in waking up early or the like. He may want to know if you take medications or are withdrawing from stimulants, such as coffee or tobacco.

Sometimes it may be suggested that you keep a sleep diary. In this diary, you would record your sleeping habits, including any information from a bed partner who can observe you first-hand.

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Every day for two weeks you should write down the following in your sleep diary:
• The time you went to bed and woke up
• Your total sleep hours
• The quality of sleep you feel you got
• What you did during the times that you were awake
• How much caffeine or alcohol you had and the times you had them
• What kinds of food and drink you had and times of consumption
• Your feelings, such as whether you were happy, sad, had stress, etc.

There are other tests you might be given, such as something called a Multiple Sleep Latency Test. This test (MSLT) uses a machine that measures the time it takes to fall asleep lying in a quiet room during the day. It has limitations, however, and is usually used after other sleep disorders have been ruled out.

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But, in cases where a physician is unable to help, even with the tests he can perform, you may be referred to a sleep disorder clinic. There they will attempt to diagnose and treat your problem.

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