All About a Sleep Specialist

Generally, a sleep specialist treats sleep disorders. If you are suffering from disturbed sleep, it is advisable to consult a sleep specialist. Typically, he will diagnose you for the specific type of problems and provide suitable medications.

This article focuses on sleep specialists, their types, when to see them, and where to find them

Generally, adults require about 7-9 hours of sleep every night. This helps them feel rested during the daytime and also improves overall health. However, about one-third of American residents complain about their sleep.

If you do not sleep well at night, it may cause daytime tiredness. In turn, this may be a sign of sleep disorders like OSA (obstructive sleep apnea) or insomnia. The sleep specialist can help to solve these types of problems.

Who is a Sleep Specialist?

Typically, a sleep specialist examines patients for sleep disorders and treats them. In most cases, these doctors train in pediatrics, internal medicine, neurology, or psychiatry during their residency. After that, they complete studying a fellowship program pertaining to sleep medicine.

ABSM (American Board of Sleep Medicine) certifies these doctors. This institution is a part of ABMS (American Board of Medical Specialties).

Types of Sleep Professionals

Generally, the sleep specialist professionals, specialize in some additional areas including:

1.) Psychologists and psychiatrists – Treat behaviors and also thoughts, related to sleep
2.) Pediatricians – Treat children for sleep disorders
3.) Neurologists – Treat nervous system disorders and also brain disorders
4.) Otorhinolaryngologists – Treat nose, ear, and also throat problems, related to sleep disorders.
5.) Respiratory therapists – Manage breathing disorders, working with sleep professionals.
6.) Oral, dental and maxillofacial surgeons – Correct mouth and jaw problems.

When Should I Consult a Sleep Specialist?

In fact, there are a number of symptoms that your body shows, requiring a visit to the sleep specialist. They include:

1.) Gasping/snoring for air while sleeping
2.) Experiencing a hard time while sleeping
3.) Feeling tired throughout the day, even after having a full sleep during the previous night.
4.) Difficulty in performing regular activities, particularly during daytime
5.) Feeling sleepy while being inactive (while reading newspapers, watching televisions, etc.)
6.) Slow response, memory problems, or finding it difficult to manage emotions.

In any case, consult your primary doctor. After diagnosing you, he may refer you to a specific sleep specialist. The sleep doctor may further treat you for sleep disorders such as insomnia, RLS (restless legs syndrome), or OSA (obstructive sleep apnea).

Where to Find a Sleep Specialist

In general, you can find a sleep specialist in sleep centers or hospitals. Some of these professionals may also work privately. Your health care provider may refer you to a specific professional after diagnosing you.

You can also find an authorized sleep center through Narcolepsy Network or the American Academy of Sleep Medicine. If you decide to search on your own, try to find the area of expertise of the professional.

In any case, ensure your insurance policy covers the treatment. Otherwise, you may end up paying a huge bill from your pocket.

You can also gather feedback through various sources like the internet, or local people about the professional. This boosts your confidence level before fixing an appointment with him.

What Is Sleep Disorder?

Typically, sleep disorder refers to conditions that interrupt your sleep. They can adversely impact your mental and physical health conditions. As a result, your quality of life deprives.

In the long run, they can cause irritability, anxiety, moodiness, and depression. Hence, you may find it harder to concentrate on a task or remember things. This may create problems both at work and at home, making your life difficult.

Sleep disorders can also lead to chronic conditions like obesity, diabetes, high blood pressure, and heart disease.

In fact, there are many types of sleep disorders. The most common five types are as follows:

1.) Insomnia: causes difficulty in getting sleep or staying asleep.
2.) Narcolepsy: Makes feel sleepy throughout the day. Sometimes, you may suddenly fall asleep without notice.
3.) Sleep apnea: Causes interrupted or abnormal breathing during sleep.
4.) REM (Rapid Eye Movement – Sleep Behavior Disorder): Typically, you may swing arms, talk, or even walk, acting out to dreams while sleeping.
5.) RLS (Restless Legs Syndrome): Legs may feel uncomfortable. As a result, you may feel an urge to move your legs as you fall asleep.

If you suffer sleeplessness and have the above-mentioned symptoms, consult your doctor. If possible, track your sleep and note down the difficulties pertaining to sleep in a sleep diary. You can also use sleep trackers for this purpose.

This helps to tell your sleep experience to the doctor. Hence, he may diagnose you by taking note of your experiences and medicate you appropriately.

What Does a Sleep Specialist Do?

Typically, he starts examining you both orally and physically. He may ask you many things like your medical history, symptoms, lifestyle, etc. If there is no obvious cause, he may subject you to a sleep study.

You would be made to sleep in a special monitoring room. Small sensors are attached to your chest, head, and also other areas as needed. A medical team closely studies the inner happenings of your body and brain. Don’t worry, needles are not involved here.

While monitoring, the medical team notes various things including:

1.) Breathe rate
2.) Eye movements
3.) Body movements
4.) Blood oxygen levels
5.) Snoring
6.) Pulse

Typically, the medical team takes about a week or so to analyze the information. Depending on the case, you may need multiple visits.

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