Valley Sleep CenterIf you are struggling to get the sleep you need, waking up as tired as when you went to bed, or snoring on a regular basis, it may be time to seek the expert advice of a doctor that specializes in sleep.  A sleep doctor is a board certified licensed medical doctor who has chosen sleep as their area of specialization.  Just like some doctors choose to work with children and specialize in pediatrics, sleep doctors choose to specialize on sleep and sleep disorders.    Sleep doctors have received training specific to diagnosing and treating sleep disorders in addition to their standard medical education and are certified as sleep specialists by the American Board of Internal Medicine (ABIM).


Signs You are Struggling with Sleep

If you aren’t getting the sleep you need, it is important that you meet with your regular doctor to discuss your concerns.  While your sleepless nights may be related to stress or you may be sleepy during the day because you aren’t allowing enough time to get the sleep you need at night, you may also have an underlying condition that needs to be treated.  You have excessive daytime sleepiness that has not been affected by improving your sleep hygiene or getting adequate amounts of sleep each night.


Make an appointment if you are experiencing any of the following:

  1. You snore regularly.
  2. Your partner reports that you gasp, choke or stop breathing during sleep.
  3. Sometimes you cannot stay awake no matter how much sleep you got the night before.
  4. You are falling asleep at inappropriate times like while driving.
  5. You are always tired no matter how much sleep you get at night.


When You Should See a Sleep Doctor

Sleep doctors can help determine if you have a sleep disorder or if disordered sleep is causing things like excessive sleepiness, snoring, or other health problems.  Most people will be referred to a sleep doctor by their general practitioner just like they would for any other specialist.  If you are struggling with sleep, you need to make an appointment with your regular doctor as soon as possible.  Meeting with your regular doctor first can help rule out other underlying medical conditions that may be interfering with your sleep.  You may also need a referral from your primary care physician in order to see a sleep doctor.


Finding a Sleep Doctor

Many sleep doctors work in or out of sleep centers like the Valley Sleep Centers located throughout Arizona.   Your doctor may refer you to a specific sleep doctor or to a specific sleep center.  You can also call your insurance company and ask for a list of sleep specialists and sleep centers that are covered under your policy.   Asking friends and families for recommendations can also help you identify the sleep doctor that is right for you.  Regardless of where the recommendation comes from, it is a good idea to verify that the sleep doctor you choose is certified in sleep medicine.
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