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Call the Sleep Doctor?

Written by Lisa Rennie

Skip one night of sleep, and you’ll quickly see how your energy levels, mental alertness, appetite, and mood can be negatively impacted. And the effects can be long-lasting if the problem persists.

Depending on the severity of your lack of sleep, visiting a sleep doctor may be a viable measure to consider. This is especially true if you’re unable to get in a solid seven hours of sleep every night without waking up frequently, have trouble falling and staying asleep, are tired during the day, or are unable to perform regular tasks adequately.

In cases like these, you may want to take steps to improve the situation with the help of a sleep doctor.

What is a Sleep Doctor?

A sleep specialist is a physician who treats sleep disorders. They can initially be trained in various areas, including internal medicine, psychiatry, or neurology, throughout their residency, after which they complete a sleep medicine fellowship program. Sleep specialists may also be psychologists who focus more on the mental and behavioral aspects that may negatively impact sleep issues.

Your sleep doctor will put you through some tests to determine the cause of your poor sleep. Once a diagnosis is made, the doctor will recommend specific treatments and develop a plan designed to help you get better sleep.

Some of the thing that may be involved in your treatment plan can include the following:

Lifestyle changes. One of the first things that may be recommended is making changes to your lifestyle. For instance, you may be asked to improve your diet, exercise more often, and avoid bad habits like drinking too much alcohol or caffeinated beverages before bed.

Relaxation techniques. Deep breathing strategies can help encourage a more relaxed state, which is key to falling and staying asleep.

Meditation. Finding a quiet space and spending a few minutes mindfully meditating before bed can help induce relaxation and alleviate any potential stress or anxiety that may be preventing you from a restful sleep.

Medication. If your sleep disturbances are quite severe, you may be prescribed medication to help you fall and stay asleep, such as Ambien, Lunesta, or Restoril, to name a few. That said, medication should not be the first defense against sleeplessness since it can be addictive if not used properly.

Alternative supplementation. More natural alternatives to traditional medication may help improve your sleep. Cannabidiol (CBD), for instance, has been shown to help alleviate anxiety and chronic pain, which are often underlying issues of poor sleep. [1] Adding CBD to your daily regimen may be enough to help you achieve better sleeping patterns.

Image source: Jess Foami from Pixabay

References:

  1. Scott Shannon, S., et al, “Cannabidiol in Anxiety and Sleep: A Large Case Series“, Perm J. January 2019; 23: 18-041.

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Lisa Rennie

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