When to Seek Help for a Sleep Disorder
A sleep disorder is broadly defined as a physical or psychological problem that impairs your ability to sleep or causes increased sleepiness during non-sleeping hours. Everyone can experience problems with sleep from time to time. However, you might have a sleep disorder if:
- You experience difficulty sleeping regularly.
- You are often tired during the day even though you slept for at least seven hours the night before.
- You have a reduced or impaired ability to perform regular daytime activities.
It is important to explore the possible causes of your difficulty with sleeping and/or daytime sleepiness and to 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.
Some Characteristics of Sleep Disorders
View the listing below. If you are experiencing one or more of these characteristics, you might not be getting proper sleep at night. Do you:
- Fall asleep while driving?
- Struggle to stay awake when inactive, such as when watching television or reading?
- Have difficulty paying attention or concentrating at work, school or home?
- Have performance problems at work or school?
- Often get told by others that you look sleepy?
- Have difficulty with your memory?
- Have slowed responses?
- Have difficulty controlling your emotions?
- Need to take naps almost every day?
Keep Track of Your Patterns of Sleeplessness
In order to determine if you have a sleep disorder, it is important to track 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. Insomnia can be caused by a sleep disorder, a physical disorder or a psychiatric disorder. Many common sleep problems can be solved with behavioral treatments and increased attention to proper sleep hygiene. Consult your doctor if you have any concerns about your sleep patterns.
For help with sleep disorders contact Cleveland Clinic’s Sleep Disorders Center.