Exams and Tests
Insomnia is not
a disease, and no specific test can diagnose it. But it can make you feel bad,
and it can affect your health. It can also be a sign of other problems. Your
doctor may want to do blood tests to rule out certain medical conditions such
as thyroid problems. "Normal sleep" differs for each person. Checking your
health and sleep history is an important first step to finding a cause for
poor-quality sleep. Talk with your doctor about your medical history and any
medical problems you have or any medicines you are taking.
- Your doctor can learn a lot about your
insomnia and its causes by reviewing your
sleep history. He or she may also ask you to keep a
sleep diary (What is a PDF document?) for 1 or 2 weeks to track your sleep
patterns and habits. Your sleep diary can help your doctor spot certain habits
that may affect your sleep, or even see signs of a hidden health problem that
may need to be checked out.
- If your symptoms point to mental health concerns, such as
anxiety, you may be referred to a mental health
doctor thinks that you have a sleep disorder, he or she may refer you for a
sleep study. When you have a sleep study, you stay
overnight in a special sleep lab.
Your doctor may recommend a sleep
study if your insomnia seems to be caused by breathing problems (such as
sleep apnea) or
periodic limb movement disorder, or if you have tried
other treatments that haven't worked.
Sleep studies are not helpful for insomnia caused by mental health
chronic fatigue syndrome.
Anne C. Poinier, MD - Internal Medicine
Lisa S. Weinstock, MD - Psychiatry
December 1, 2011
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