Did you lay awake last night for at least an hour before you could finally fall asleep? Then you might have insomnia. It’s becoming more prevalent in society every year. some say the culprit are smartphones, others say there is something else at play. While we don’t know for sure what is causing the global increase in insomnia, we do know different cures for it. And who knows them better than the insomnia doctor?
Most cases of insomnia can be solved by taking the right measures. However, not all of them. Some people have such a persistent insomnia that they it’s’ better to go see a doctor.
Which doctor is an insomnia doctor?
The right doctor to go to is a doctor who’s sleep medicine certified. The American Board of Sleep Medicine is the medical board that provides these certifications. Physicians and PhD’s who have passed the board’s qualifications are certified to have a high quality standard in sleep medicine.
In short, these are doctors that can help you treat insomnia. It’s important to treat this, because if you don’t get the right amount of sleep that you need, then this increases your chances of (chronic) health conditions or accidents.
When to go to an insomnia doctor?
The first step to take if you have sleep problems is to see your regular GP. Often a quick consultation with him or her can pinpoint the issue. Your doctor can give you tips and treatment strategies that make it easier for you to fall asleep.
They can recommend you to make certain changes in your life, sleep habits or overall lifestyle. It’s also possible that you’re taking specific medication that makes it difficult to fall asleep. If this is the case,then your doctor can see this issue and resolve it (either by recommending other medication o changing your regime).
If the first treatment strategies from your GP do not work, then your doctor can refer you to a specialist (the insomnia doctor).
If your child has insomnia, then it’s a good idea to go see a pediatrician.
Insomnia can be caused by many different factors
There are many root causes of insomnia. Each patient is different and therefore it’s difficult to find a one-size-fits-all solution for falling asleep. Here are some types of factors that can cause insomnia:
- Lifestyle factors
- Brain chemical imbalance
Different doctors who can help with insomnia
Since there are different causes of insomnia, not every person who suffers from it goes to the same doctor. Different causes require different specialisations.
For example. for most lifestyle factors can be solved by a quick talk with your GP. Lifestyle factors can be that your sleep habits are out of order, and that you may need to keep a balanced lifestyle in order to fall asleep faster. If you (try to) go to bed during the week at 11, but at the weekends stay up until 4, then this might be a factor in your disrupted circadian rhythm.
It’s also very well possible that some underlying condition i your brain is causing insomnia. Most people with bipolar disorder, for example, also suffer from insomnia. If you suspect it’s more than just your lifestyle, it might be a good idea to talk to a psychologist or psychiatrist.
You can also be referred to neurologist. This doctor has intensive experience with disorders in your brain and nervous system. If you have an imbalance between specific chemicals in your brain (for example dopamine), then this can cause insomnia. A neurologist can prescribe specific medicine that will help you with this imbalance.
Some easy home tips to fall asleep faster
While I recommend you to go see your doctor if you have insomnia, it can never hurt to try some home remedies. As long as you stick to the tried and proven ones.
Here are some tips and strategies that might work for your insomnia. It’s important to realize that several small wins can add up to victory. If a technique makes you fall asleep 5 minutes faster, then that may not sound like a lot. Compound this together with some other tips that also decrease your fall asleep time by 5 minutes – and you might find yourself falling asleep half an hour or more earlier.
Check your sleeping environment
Is there a big street lantern light shining into your room at night? Is there a lot of dust underneath your bed? Or do you sleep next to a big busy road? All these factors can make it more difficult to fall asleep. Or they frequently wake you up at night. Even though you cannot physically move the lamp or road, there are solution for these problems.
Install blackout curtains. Buy some quality ear plugs that are made for sleeping (so they don’t bother you). Clean the bedroom once every month completely.
When you’re laying in bed, unable to fall asleep, it can be so tempting to read some articles on the internet on your phone. Harmless right? Unless you get that alarming work email or notification at 12.30 from a colleague who’s working through the night to get that project finished. Now you’re thinking about work tomorrow. And how you’re already behind schedule. And how you need o be fresh tomorrow to get all that work done. And how you need a good night’s’ rest to be productive tomorrow. Which you’re not getting. Which is stressing you out.
Do away with all electronics in the bedroom. Get an old-fashioned alarm clock. And install a blue-light blocker on your phone and computer. Also, don’t hang a TV in the bedroom. All these distractions are not helping your insomnia.
Sleep doctor infal thoughts
It’s a good idea to see your doctor if you have insomnia. He’ll be able to pinpoint the reason why you can’t sleep much more accurately than 50 articles on the internet for insomnia tips. He’ll give you some strategies that work for your specific case – or else he’ll refer you to an insomnia doctor. Who can help you treat your insomnia even better.