Sleep and Insomnia
Sleep disorders are a very common reason for presentation to the GP. Sleep is so important to your physical and mental health so it’s crucial that if you are consistently having trouble sleeping that you discuss this with your GP.
Problems with sleeping can be caused by so many things, to get to the bottom of what’s causing your sleep troubles your GP will first need to take a good history of the problem you are experiencing. Keeping a bit of a diary before you come in to see the GP can really be helpful for this reason.
I typically ask my patients:
- How long the problem has been going on?
- When did it begin?
- What exactly is the problem with their sleep?
- What time they go to bed?
- What time they fall asleep?
- Do they stay asleep?
- Do they awake through the night?
- If so, what are they doing during the night?
- What has woken them up?
- What is keeping them awake?
- What time to get back to sleep?
- What time to get out of bed in the morning?
- And do they have any sleeps during the daytime?
Once your GP has got all this information together, they can make a plan to investigate and treat the causes of your poor sleep. How your GP treats your sleep problem really depends on what the cause is. There are many causes of sleep disorders; things we use and consume every day like alcohol and caffeine can affect our sleep in negative ways, our mood and whether we are suffering with anxiety or depression can affect sleep, physical illnesses such as thyroid function and sleep apnea can also impact the quality of your sleep. Sometimes we just get into a bad sleep routine through shiftwork or perhaps from looking after small children.
I really recommend you have a look at the PDF in the links below. It has been prepared by a local respiratory physician and is very helpful for getting a sleep back on track, and if you have any concerns please book in to discuss your sleep problems with your GP.