Sleep is imperative to our mental, physical, and emotional health, allowing our body to repair and rejuvenate. If you aren’t regularly waking up and feeling refreshed, you should see a sleep specialist to determine if there is an underlying cause. There are over 80 types of sleep disorders and having a proper diagnosis helps in determining the appropriate treatment. The good news is that many sleep disorders can be managed once they are properly diagnosed.
During our much-needed slumbers, our body carries out a multitude of functions. Sleep:
- allows necessary processing, restoration, and strengthening to occur
- enables the body to repair and be fit and ready for another day
- grows muscle, repairs tissue, and synthesizes hormones
- keeps the brain healthy by clearing out toxins that naturally build up throughout the day
- solidifies and consolidates memories
- may also help prevent excess weight gain, heart disease, and increased illness duration
Who diagnoses my sleep disorder?
A sleep specialist is a expert at diagnosing and managing sleep-related conditions.
Sleep medicine physicians have extensive specialty training in sleep medicine and sleep disorders. After medical school, physicians who wish to be certified in sleep medicine complete a 1-year internship and an additional 1–3 years of training in an approved sleep medicine residency program.
The most common reason people see a sleep specialist is because they are not getting the quality or quantity of sleep needed to feel rested and energetic during the day.
Healthy sleep tips
Here are simple, yet effective healthy sleep tips from the National Sleep Foundation:
- Stick to a sleep schedule, even on weekends
- Practice a relaxing bedtime ritual
- Exercise daily
- Evaluate your bedroom to ensure ideal temperature, sound and light
- Sleep on a comfortable mattress and pillows
- Beware of hidden sleep stealers, like alcohol and caffeine
- Turn off electronics before bed