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Insomnia – Preparing For your Appointment

November 15, 2013

You need to consult with your doctor if youíre having problems with your sleep. In order to make your appointment productive, help your doctor by coming fully prepared for your insomnia appointment.  Listed below are some tips that can better prepare you for your appointment.

What you can do

* Know beforehand if there are any requests from your doctor you need to fulfill prior to your appointment ñ Your physician may request that you keep a sleep journal or diary wherein you can write down everything related to your sleep (number of hours you have slept, time of sleep or bedtime, the number of times you wake up, the how many times and the hours you wake up in the night and the hour in the morning you usually wake up). Include in the journal your normal daily activities and routines, and your sleep or rest during the day. You may start writing down all these a week or two prior to your appointment.
* Use a journal to list down all your questions to ask your doctor
* Have your sleeping partner accompany you to your appointment ñ Your partner can share valuable information about the way you sleep and about your problems with your doctor. This can help the doctor gain more insight to your problem and eventually formulate a correct diagnosis to your problem.
* List down in the journal the list of all medicines, herbs, supplements and steroids you are currently taking
* Also include in your journal all your medical conditions and information about yourself including recent noteworthy changes in your life, stress factors in your life and recent and current health issues.
* Jot down any symptoms you have even issues that may not be caused by your main complaint.

The questions you can ask your doctor that you should include in your journal can be like these:

* What is causing my sleeplessness?
* Are there other possible factors besides the likeliest factor that may be causing my insomnia?
* What do you think is the best way to address my insomnia?
* What is the best thing for me to do to properly address my other health problems including my insomnia?
* Do I need to go to a sleep clinic? If so, how much will it cost?  Is it covered by my insurance?
* Can I bring home insomnia-related articles and brochures from your office?  Can you recommend a website I can go to research further about my sleeping problem?

The doctor will need to ask you certain questions about yourself and your condition to help him come up with a correct diagnosis. Some of the questions can be like these:

* How long have you experienced your sleep problem?
* What are the symptoms of your sleep problem?
* Does your problem occur from time to time or does it affect you every night?
* What is your normal sleep pattern?
* Has anything occurred in your life that may have started to affect your sleep?
* Have you suffered from past sleeping problems? If yes, how was it addressed?
* Are you suffering from certain symptoms that may have arisen due to your sleeping problem?
* Is there anything that worsens your symptoms?
* Is there anything that makes your symptoms improve?
* Have you used nonprescription or prescription drugs to help you sleep?
* Do you take other types of drugs (prescription or nonprescription) for other health problems?
* Do you take illegal drugs like cocaine or drink alcohol to aid you in sleeping?
* Any home remedies you have tried? If so what are they? Have they been useful?
* Do you always feel very sleepy or sleep during the day especially during driving and work?
* Are your normal daily routines affected by your sleep problem?
* Do you have any family member that has been diagnosed with a sleep problem or with any type of depression?
* Do you have any health risks?
* Do you smoke?
* Do you snore?
* Have you experienced choking for breath while sleeping that forced you to wake up?
* What time do you sleep at night? What time in the morning do you wake up? Are your sleeping and waking times different during weekdays and weekends?
* How often do you wake up at night? If so, is it hard going back to sleep after youíve waken up?
* Does it take a while for you to fall asleep at night?
* How do you feel when you wake up in the morning?
* What part of the house do you sleep?
* Is your sleeping area noisy and/or brightly lit?
* What foods and drink do you eat at night?
* Do you exercise?
* Have you traveled recently?

Linda Lesperance is a licensed acupuncturist and the founder of The Lotus Center of Oriental Medicine in Boca Raton, FL.