Sleep deprivation has major health consequences, and it can lead to serious medical conditions like type 2 diabetes, heart disease, obesity, and mood disorders. It can also negatively affect your work performance, ability to drive safely, and quality of life.
When you’re having trouble sleeping, it’s a good idea to see a sleep expert for evaluation and treatment. You can do this with your primary care doctor, or you can find a specialist at a local hospital or sleep center.
Your health is important to you, and it’s your right to get the best medical care available. Your health care provider should always make a referral to a sleep expert if they feel your symptoms indicate you may have a medical problem.
A sleep expert is a doctor who specializes in diagnosing and treating sleep disorders, including obstructive sleep apnea and other common types of sleep problems. They are board-certified by the American Academy of Sleep Medicine (AASM), and they can help you get the sleep you need to be your best self.
They are trained in a variety of specialties and can help you determine the root cause of your sleep issues, and they often treat multiple conditions at the same time. They’ll use tests to track your sleep patterns, such as a sleep study, and they’ll use behavioral therapy to help you learn better sleep habits.
If you are diagnosed with obstructive sleep apnea, your doctor might refer you to an otolaryngologist, or an ear, nose and throat specialist, who can make recommendations for surgery to fix the structural causes of your breathing problem. They can also recommend other treatments that may help you sleep better, such as wearing a CPAP mask at night.
Another type of sleep expert is a psychiatrist, who specializes in mental and behavioral issues that might be causing your sleep problems. They can help you overcome emotional and mental barriers that are keeping you from getting restful sleep.
They also often prescribe medications to treat your sleep disorder. Your doctor may also ask you to take a sleep test to make sure the medication you are taking is working for you.
Your doctor may recommend a sleep specialist if your symptoms are severe, or if your condition has not responded to medication or lifestyle changes. You’ll also need to visit a specialist if you experience any side effects from your medications, such as drowsiness or agitation.
You should look for a doctor who is recognized by the AASM, and he or she will have to follow strict rules of practice. The AASM oversees the accreditation process for over 2,500 practices, centers, labs, and clinics across the United States.
Some are physicians in other specialties, such as pulmonologists or neurologists. These doctors usually pursue a sub-specialty in sleep medicine after completing residency training, and they must complete an additional fellowship program to become board-certified in that area.
Other specialists, such as psychiatric experts and dentists, also have to go through significant training to become sleep specialists. Many sleep psychologists have training in mental and behavioral problems that are causing your sleep disorder. They also have a background in helping people with addictions, and they can help you develop healthier habits that will improve your sleep.