Sleep Disorders: When to Call the Doctor
A sleep disorder is broadly defined as a physical or psychological problem that impairs your ability to sleep or causes increased sleepiness during the day. Everyone can experience problems with sleep from time to time. However, you might have a sleep disorder if:
It is important to explore the possible causes of your difficulty with sleeping and/or daytime sleepiness and try to find a solution. One way to evaluate the quality of your sleep and to see whether you have a sleep disorder is to know the characteristics of various sleep disorders and to keep track of your sleep patterns by keeping a sleep diary.
Ask yourself the following questions. Do you:
If you experience one or more of these characteristics, you may not be getting proper sleep at night.
In order to determine if you have a sleep disorder, pay attention to your sleep habits by keeping a sleep diary and discussing patterns and characteristics of your sleep with your doctor. It is important to note that insomnia can be a sleep disorder, or can be a symptom of another problem. Many common sleep problems can be treated with behavioral treatments and increased attention to proper sleep hygiene. Consult your doctor if you have any concerns about your sleep patterns.
Reviewed by The Sleep Medicine Center at The Cleveland Clinic.
Edited by Michael J. Breus, PhD, WebMD, September 2004.
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Last Editorial Review: 6/20/2005