When Should I See A Doctor For My Sleep Problems?

by Dr. Kenny Pang

If you suspect that you have a sleep disorder like insomnia or sleep apnea, this self-administered sleep questionnaire might be helpful.

Many patients who come to see me present with two ends of the spectrum in sleep disorders. Their two main complaints are: “Doc, I’m so tired, but I just can’t fall asleep!” and “Doc, I sleep eight hours a night, but I’m still so tired and I can’t keep awake!”

These sleep disorders range from insomnia (the inability to fall asleep and stay asleep) to obstructive sleep apnea (common symptoms include excessive daytime tiredness and the inability to keep awake).    

The following self-administered sleep questionnaire might help. Such a sleep test is not intended to be diagnostic, but can be helpful if you have sleep problems and suspect that you have a sleep disorder.  

Consider if these statements are true for you:

  • I have been told that I snore.
  • I have been told that I hold my breath when I sleep. 
  • I wake up choking, gasping, or have difficulty breathing at night.
  • I wake up in the middle of the night with palpitations (quickened heartbeat)
  • I am told that I kick violently while sleeping.
  • I feel very tired during the day despite sleeping for six to seven hours a day.
  • I wish I had more energy.
  • I often get morning headaches.
  • I have been grumpy and irritable lately.
  • I often feel sleepy and have trouble staying awake at meetings.
  • I frequently wake up with a dry mouth and throat.
  • I have high blood pressure.
  • I am slightly overweight.
  • I have frequent sore throats.
  • I have sinus problems on most mornings of the week.
  • I have fallen asleep while driving. 
  • I often feel like I’m in a daze.
  • I have difficulty falling asleep. 
  • I feel sad and depressed.
  • Sometimes I can’t keep my legs still at night; I need to move them to feel comfortable. 

If at least five of these statements in this sleep questionnaire are true for you, you might have a sleep disorder and should consult a sleep specialist. 

The doctor will go through your medical history and conduct a clinical evaluation to determine whether sleep assessments are needed.

Note that this article is for informational purposes only, and should not be taken as a substitute for personalised professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment.

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