Sleep disorders affect approximately 70 million Americans every year. Some people can’t sleep due to restless leg syndrome. Others suffer from insomnia, narcolepsy or sleep apnea. Chronic insufficient sleep can lead to weight gain, mood disorders, memory loss, cognitive decline and much more. Today, our sleep experts at Innovative Medicine in Lafayette, IN reveal signs you should consider seeing a sleep doctor.
When Should You Consider Seeing a Sleep Doctor?
You Have Trouble Forming Short-Term Memories
There are over 80 sleep disorders and each sleep disorder can cause different symptoms. For example, insomnia makes falling asleep hard and may cause you to wake up several times throughout the night. Restless leg syndrome also affects sleep quality but is better known than insomnia for causing irritability and difficulty concentrating.
What many sleep disorders have in common is they affect your ability to form short-term memories because a chronic lack of sufficient sleep leads to cognitive decline. If you forget you turned the coffee pot off five minutes ago and can’t remember what you were talking about after a brief change of topic in a conversation, you may be suffering from the side effects of a sleep disorder.
You Struggle to Recall Long-Term Memories
Another sign you may suffer from a sleep disorder and should consider seeing a sleep doctor is struggling to recall things you learned long ago and should still know. For example, a sleep disorder may be to blame if you forget words that you used to use regularly or you can’t remember your anniversary or your mom’s birthday. There are several sleep disorders that lead to forgetting long-term memories, but insomnia is the most common sleep disorder that causes this.
You Fall Asleep at Work
Has your supervisor suggested getting a standing desk because you fall asleep at work? If so, you should strongly consider seeing a sleep doctor. Daytime sleepiness is one of the strongest indicators that someone is suffering from a sleep disorder.
If you find yourself falling asleep at work or while inactive, such as reading a book or watching a television show, you could benefit from seeking help from a sleep expert. Occasional naps are fine but struggling to stay awake while reading one of your favorite books is highly indicative of a serious sleep problem.
You Fall Asleep While Driving
Although insomnia can leave you so tired during the day you fall asleep against your will, you can probably stay awake when you absolutely need to for your safety if you have insomnia.
Contrastingly, if you suffer from narcolepsy, you may fall asleep while driving or while your brain is actively engaged, like when you’re playing a difficult video game. You may also suffer from narcolepsy if your muscles feel extremely weak when you laugh, are angry or are sad.
You Have Trouble Falling Asleep or Staying Asleep
If you struggle to fall or stay asleep, you may suffer from insomnia. Insomnia is an unfortunately common condition that affects approximately half of adults occasionally (adjustment or acute insomnia).
Approximately 10% of adults suffer from chronic insomnia. Other signs you may have insomnia and need to seek professional help include waking up feeling tired, waking up too early in the morning and suffering from the effects of insufficient sleep during the day.
You Struggle to Focus
Another daytime side effect of a sleep disorder is struggling to focus. If you find yourself daydreaming at work or mindlessly doodling during important meetings, your difficulty focusing may be caused by a sleep disorder. When you don’t get enough restful sleep at night, you don’t have the mental energy to keep your mind on the task at hand.
You should definitely seek advice from a sleep expert if you find your mind wandering when you need to focus. For example, you may find yourself daydreaming at traffic lights and holding up traffic behind you when you don’t notice the light has turned green. You may also benefit from meeting with a sleep expert if your tasks at work are taking you far longer than they used to because you can’t focus on a task until it is complete.
You Make Regular Mistakes at Work
Yet another sign you could benefit from consulting with a sleep expert is making regular mistakes at work. It is perfectly normal to make mistakes as you are learning a new system.
However, if you continually make the same mistakes despite using the system for months or years, you may be experiencing cognitive decline caused by a chronic lack of sufficient sleep. Treating the sleep disorder preventing you from getting restful sleep could improve your job performance and prevent you from being put on a personal improvement plan.
Schedule Your Appointment Today
If you have trouble falling asleep, staying asleep or feeling well-rested after at least seven hours of sleep, you should strongly consider seeing a sleep doctor. You could also benefit from an appointment if you are struggling at work. Contact our sleep experts today at Innovative Medicine in Lafayette, IN to discover how we can help you improve your quality of sleep and life. We look forward to helping you.