Sleeplessness: How to Distinguish Between Being Tired or Something More Serious
Most people complain of not getting enough sleep. Whether your trouble sleeping is due to a hectic work schedule, stress at home, or a symptom of a more complicated condition, you are not alone; over 60 million people in the United States feel that they don't get enough sleep. However, it is important to determine the cause of your sleeplessness. While it is easily one of the most important factors in maintaining your health, sleep is a very difficult thing to balance. Sleeplessness can be the result of something as simple as an old mattress or as complicated as a serious medical condition. Determining whether you are suffering from poor sleep quality or something more is an important factor in treating the problem.
When talking to your doctor about your sleeplessness, keep the following things in mind:
How long have you been experiencing trouble sleeping? Many times a chronic sleep disorder is not present unless you have been experiencing sleeplessness consistently for over a month.
What are your life stressors? Stress is the leading cause of sleeplessness among adults. Stressful jobs, money and family problems, and compulsive worrying can all lead to lack of sleep.
Are you experiencing life trauma? The death of a loved one, a divorce or breakup, serious money problems, and other traumatic personal circumstances may lead to trouble sleeping.
Do you have a family history of sleeplessness? Many sleep disorders are hereditary, and it is important to know if any sleeping problems run in your family before speaking with your doctor about treatment.
Have you recently been traveling? Jet lag is a very common cause of sleeplessness that is due to traveling across time zones. This will generally go away once you have become re-acclimated to your sleeping environment and routine.
Are you practicing good sleep hygiene? Good sleep habits are important to achieving restful sleep. Make sure that there are no distractions in your bedroom, that your bedding and the room temperature is comfortable, and that you practice relaxation techniques before going to sleep just to name a few.
These are just a few of the things your doctor will want to discuss with you when trying to determine the cause of your sleeplessness. Some sleep disorders can be very serious and require medical attention, so it will be important to distinguish whether you are just not sleeping well temporarily or if you require long-term care and treatment.