Do I Have a Sleep Disorder?

It’s not uncommon to have trouble sleeping from time to time. In fact, one-third of American adults report not getting enough sleep. When your normal routine is interrupted by stress, travel, illness, or a new baby, it can be hard to get a good night’s rest. But if you’re experiencing trouble with sleep on a regular basis, you could be suffering from a sleep disorder. 

At Boston PainCare with offices in Waltham, Concord, and Natick, Massachusetts, we understand the frustration poor quality sleep can bring. Our director of sleep medicine, James O’Brien, MD, and our entire care team are dedicated to helping you get the much-needed rest you deserve. We offer comprehensive diagnostic and treatment for sleep trouble, including in-office sleep studies. 

We’ve curated this guide to help you learn more about sleep disorders and steps you can take if you suspect you have one. Read on to learn more!

What is a sleep disorder?

A sleep disorder is a condition that negatively impacts your ability to get adequate high-quality sleep. While it’s normal to have trouble sleeping occasionally, sleep disorders impact your sleep regularly. 

Sometimes sleep disorders are caused by underlying medical conditions, like chronic sinusitis, asthma, anxiety, and diabetes. It’s also common for sleep disorders to have non-medical roots, such as poor sleep habits, stress, caffeine consumption, and unhealthy lifestyle choices.

There are different types of sleep disorders. One of the most common sleep disorders is called sleep apnea, which results when your lungs don’t get enough oxygen when you sleep. Other sleep disorders include:

Factors that contribute to sleep disorders include smoking, using alcohol, being overweight, having high blood pressure, and suffering from asthma or airway obstructions. 

What are the symptoms of a sleep disorder?

To determine if your trouble sleeping is a sign of a sleep disorder, it’s important to learn the symptoms. If you’re getting enough hours of sleep but still aren’t rested, look for these specific signs:

What can I do if I suspect a sleep disorder?

The first step to take if you suspect you might have a sleep disorder is to keep track of your symptoms. Use a sleep diary to identify any habits that are contributing to your restless nights and discover patterns that shed light on the problem.

Track the times you go to bed and wake up, the total number of hours you slept, and give your sleep a quality rating. If you spent time awake, record it and write down anything you did during that time (e.g., got something to eat, meditated, counted). 

You should also record the different foods and beverages you eat and drink before bed and the times at which you consumed them. Don’t forget to include your mood or emotions as well as any medications or drugs you take.

While some sleep troubles can go away with improved lifestyle habits and healthy sleep hygiene, it’s important to rule out any underlying medical cause. Boston PainCare offers in-house and at-home sleep studies that monitor your breathing and movement while you’re asleep.

Your provider uses the information from your medical history, physical exam, and sleep study to design a customized treatment plan for you. 

Ready for a good night’s rest?

If you’re ready to say goodbye to tired, red eyes and hello to a good night’s rest, Dr. O’Brien and our care team can help. From diagnostic testing to comprehensive treatment plans, we’ll help improve your sleep. 

Contact the Boston PainCare office nearest you to schedule a consultation today!

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