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11 Signs That Indicate You To See A Sleep Specialist

Sleep is one of the best medicines for health; in fact it is essential for all of us to have at least 8 hours of uninterrupted sleep every night.

However, there are people who might be struggling with sleep issues. A lack of sleep or excessive daytime sleeping could be a chronic issue if proper attention is not paid to solve the sleep issue. Are you someone who is struggling with any kind of sleep problem? Is your sleep cycle really troubling you? Now, you might be wondering about what are the signs that tell you should see a sleep specialist. Isn’t it? So, this is the right article for you. Please feel free to read below!

Signs That Tell You Should See A Sleep Specialist:

Many of us today live a real busy life and there is actually no sign of slowing them down. This is the reason, it is not at all surprising that Americans adults are not getting proper and enough sleep.

In fact, it is found that the average adult tops out at less than 7 hours of sleep every night, which is really lower than the recommended amount of sleep.(1)

There are many short-term consequences that one might suffer from if you do not get enough of sleep and some of these consequences include daytime fatigue, irritability, and metabolic problems. However, you might also be facing more long-term health issues. So, if you are dealing with any sort of sleep issues then you need to pay proper attention towards your symptoms and must consult with a sleep specialist. Let us check what’s more is stored below!

You Can’t Fall Asleep Or Have Chronic Insomnia:

One of the most common signs that tell you should see a sleep specialist is that you can’t fall asleep or you suffer from chronic insomnia. People with insomnia usually keep laying in bed and simply thinking about random things, staring at the fan, the ceiling for hours during the night time. It actually becomes difficult for many people to fall asleep.

However, difficulty in falling asleep might also be due to one more sleep disorder and it might be because of a melatonin deficiency. In generally, a burst of melatonin shuts down our brain and body for sleep. But, in case there is not enough of melatonin in your system, you might be suffering from sleep disorder and might be facing difficulty of getting to sleep at night.

If you are not getting sleep, simply get up and start doing something relaxing, such a listen to music, read a book, paint something, or simply take a shower and then get back to bed when you start feeling sleepy. However, ensure that if this problem is ongoing, you should seek medical advice and treatments.

If You Experience Sleep Attacks:

Do you have sleep attacks? Narcolepsy is the term used to describe a condition of having sleep attacks throughout the day. We must tell you that these sleep attacks can occur in the middle of your work, or at college or school, or even during driving. This can be really confusing and seriously dangerous.

Yes, sleep attacks are dangerous and if you are facing any kind of such sign then you should see a sleep specialist.

If You Have Excessive Daytime Sleepiness:

Are you sleeping a lot during the daytime? Well; then keep this noted that day-time sleepiness can at times be linked directly to nighttime insomnia. It could also be due to some other conditions that might interrupt your sleep cycles, such as RLS and sleep apnea.

If you are sleeping a lot during daytime it can make it really hard for you to concentrate at your school or work, and for some it might be really dangerous, such as those who are operating heavy machinery or driving any vehicle.

We understand that daytime sleepiness or fatigue can make you feel so irritable. However, you must try not to fall asleep and get engaged in some of the best activities that would keep you awake during daytime so that you can get nice sleep during night.

Again, sometimes it might happen that if you are having excessive daytime sleepiness or EDS then you might also suffer from a sudden sleep attack and you might feel alert at one moment and then fall asleep the next.

This EDS is in fact the most prominent symptoms seen in individuals with narcolepsy.(2)

If You Commonly Fall Asleep At Unusual Times:

Excessive Daytime Sleepiness or EDS when associated with narcolepsy can make you all of a sudden fall asleep during daytime. Such kinds of sleep attacks might occur in the middle of school or at your work, and this might be a real confusing experience. You might also have some periods of alertness in between the attacks.

“Drowsy driving” is an increasingly common problem in the US, where individuals driving vehicles are either too sleepy to drive or fall asleep behind the wheel.

It is estimated that this kind of drowsy driving might result up to 6000 fatal accidents each year.(3) There is a higher risk in adults having sleep apnea and also in those who sleep less than 6 hours in night time.

If you are suffering from such a sign then you should see a sleep specialist and also make sure not to drive until you are being treated.

If You Have Restless Legs During Bedtime:

Restless legs syndrome or RLS is a condition that is characterized by pains and aches in your lower legs; and thus making it difficult for you to fall asleep at night. You might also be having RLS during the day time without you realizing it as movement throughout the day can help in relieving symptoms of RLS.

It is found that Restless legs syndrome is linked with a lack of the dopamine neurotransmitter in the brain and it is sometimes connected to several neurological conditions like Parkinson’s disease. It becomes really difficult for you to fall asleep if you have RLS. It is a must for you to note that in case you are suffering from pain and discomfort in your lower legs regularly at night, you should see a specialist.

You Have Difficulty In Concentrating:

Another sign which indicates that you should see a sleep specialist is that you might be having difficulty in concentrating. If you are deprived of proper sleep for a long time period, you might not perform well at your work, in your school or studies because of lack of concentration. Our brain and entire body need sleep to thrive. Sleep actually lets our brain repair damaged cells. So, if you are not getting proper sleep, you might be having difficulty in concentrating in your works. You should check with your specialist if you suffer from this every day.

You Experience A loss Of Muscle Control And Movement While You Are Awake:

Narcolepsy can result in involuntary muscle paralysis while you are awake. This symptom is known as Cataplexy and it can be the first symptom to appear in up to 10% of individuals having narcolepsy. However, cataplexy tends to follow EDS.(4)

One more related symptom that could be seen in narcolepsy is known as sleep paralysis. This results in an inability to move or even speak anything, when you first fall asleep or first wake up. You might even have some sorts of mild hallucinations.

However, unlike cataplexy, sleep paralysis generally lasts just for a few minutes or just a few seconds at a time.

If You Snore A Lot Regularly While Sleeping:

One more sign that shows you should see a sleep specialist is if you snore really lot every night while sleeping.

Loud snoring at night on a regular basis is a common symptom of OSA or Obstructive sleep apnea. This is really a dangerous disorder that can cause periodic pauses in breathing while a person is sleeping and this occurs because of constriction from soft tissues in your throat.

Obstructive sleep apnea is very common and it affects about 12% people in the US.(5) One must pay strict attention towards this disorder and must get the condition treated well, as it can result in some serious complications, such as metabolic disorders, stroke, and heart diseases.

You Often Get Irritated:

Are you getting too much irritated? There are some sort of sleep disorders that might put a strain on you and you might suffer from irritability due to lack of sleep. This can really impact your mood a lot and also affect your performance at your work or at school

If You Are Sleeping Too Much:

It is absolutely correct that sleeping too little is dangerous. However, it is also correct that sleeping too much is also not something normal. There are some kinds of sleep disorders that might cause you to sleep too much.

We would let you know that the average sleep recommendations are 7 hours per night for adults, but not something to exceed 9 hours.(6)

If you are sleeping more than this, then you need to see a sleep specialist. There are individuals who suffer from secondary narcolepsy who report sleeping more than 10 hours every night.

You Wake Up Usually Tired: If You Are Experiencing Sleep Talking Or Sleep Walking:

Children usually suffer from sleep-talking and sleep-walking in general and as they grow eventually, they also grow out of these sleep-talking and sleep-walking symptoms. But, there are few adults who suffer from sleepwalking and sleep talking. Sleep talking or sleep walking as an adult is a sign of REM sleep Behaviour Disorder or RBD.

It is one of the most crucial signs that tells you should see a sleep specialist.

The Right Sleep Hygiene For You:

One thing that you need to keep note of is “The right sleep hygiene could help you have a better sleep” So, it is essential for us to develop good sleeping habits. There are some basic tips that can be followed by anyone suffering from sleep issues.

Do frequent exercises and this helps in nighttime restlessness and better sleep.

Avoid drinking caffeine in the afternoon or evening. You can take coffee in the morning hours.

Natural sunlight is very much important for our mental health and this helps us train the brain to know actually when to sleep. So, go outside!

Try and create a relaxing space to sleep. Make sure you have a clean bed, dark room, and also ensure that your mobile phone is switched off during the nighttime. You can also play some relaxing sleep music for better experience.

You also need to try not sleeping during the daytime too much, so that you get better and quicker sleep during night time.

Final Thoughts:

So we talked about some of the signs that might tell you that you should see a sleep specialist. However, we must also let you know that there are more than 80 known types of sleep disorders and this makes it quite impossible for a person to self-diagnose the kind of sleep disorder one is suffering from.(7) It is thus important for you to keep a track of your symptoms as it could help you to some extent and you could explain your signs and symptoms to your sleep specialist.

NOTE: Make sure that you are discussing all your symptoms or your signs with your doctor so that you can be treated appropriately by the medical profession. Also note that any kind of sleep disorder if not treated on time, could lead to chronic issues, increase the risk of high blood pressure, heart disease, and mood disorders.


Pramod Kerkar, M.D., FFARCSI, DA
Pramod Kerkar, M.D., FFARCSI, DA
Written, Edited or Reviewed By: Pramod Kerkar, M.D., FFARCSI, DA Pain Assist Inc. This article does not provide medical advice. See disclaimer
Last Modified On:December 23, 2020

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