Before sleep apnea can be treated, it needs to be properly diagnosed. After all, how can you truly find a solution for your sleep disorder if you don’t know for sure what kind of disorder it is? In order to make such a diagnosis, your doctor will have to gather as much information as possible about your sleep habits; to that end, a sleep diary can be an invaluable tool. If you have any reason to think you might not be sleeping as soundly as you could at night, read on to learn how a sleep diary could help you narrow down the nature of your problem.
How Does a Sleep Diary Work?
A sleep diary is used to record how often and how long you sleep over a given period of time. It paints a picture of your sleep habits so that you have a reference to consider when trying to evaluate the quality of your sleep. Typically, people keep a sleep diary for at least 1 to 2 weeks before visiting their doctor; this gives them plenty of data to work with in determining a pattern that might point to a sleep disorder.
What Should Be Recorded in a Sleep Diary?
Obviously, you’ll want to write down what time you go to sleep at night and when you wake up in the morning. You should also record how often you take naps. If you want to capture as much detail as possible, you should also include the following information:
- The amount of time between going to bed and actually falling asleep
- How many times you woke up during the night
- How well-rested you feel in the morning
- How drowsy you felt during the day
- How much caffeine or alcohol you had and what time you drank it
- Your emotional state and how much stress you felt
- Any drugs or medications you’re taking at the time
The more detail you include in your sleep diary, the easier it will be to point to potential sleep apnea symptoms when discussing the matter with your primary doctor or a sleep dentist.
What are the Next Steps?
If your sleep diary provides reason to believe that you have a sleep disorder, the next step will be to undergo a sleep study in order to gather additional data. You can move forward with treatment if you end up testing positive for a sleep disorder.
Getting a good night’s rest is important; if you have even the slightest concerns about the quality of your sleep, you can talk to a sleep dentist about what you should do in order to confirm your suspicions. Take control of your sleep
About the Author
Dr. Mitch Conditt was diagnosed with obstructive sleep apnea in the past. Because of his experiences, he decided to specialize in sleep dentistry to help his patients find the relief he was able to enjoy. He’s happy to advise patients on keeping sleep journals and other ways to identify potential sleep apnea symptoms. If you’d like to schedule a consultation at his practice to discuss the quality of your sleep, visit his website or call (817) 527-8500.