When we head to our annual visit with primary care providers, it’s often second nature to talk about our physical aches and pains. We might also check in regularly about our mood, or even about levels of stress.
Sometimes, however, we forget to talk about one of the most important aspects of our health—sleep. We could be waking up every night at 4 am, or unable to fall asleep in the first place, but what do we tell our doctor besides, “I’m waking up a lot” or “I can’t fall asleep”? Besides, what can a doctor do about the sleep struggles, like insomnia, that we live with every day?
The truth is, your doctor most certainly has tools and resources to help you get the quality sleep that supports your health. Additionally, there are some specific details about your sleep that can help your doctor understand your sleep struggles.
If you know or suspect that getting quality sleep is a concern for you, consider going over the following questions the next time you see your primary care provider.
- How many hours are you sleeping each night?
- How do you feel when you wake up?
- Are you taking daytime naps?
- What kind of activities are you doing in the hours before bed?
- What times do you go to bed and wake-up?
Keeping a sleep log for several weeks before your appointment is one of the most effective things you can do to help resolve your sleep struggles. This information helps you and your provider see habits and patterns. Sometimes, an obstacle to quality sleep becomes obvious, such as caffeine in the afternoon, screentime close to bedtime, or medication timing. Download a free sleep log (PDF).
Once you and your doctor have a sense of your sleep patterns, it may be time to start putting a healthy sleep plan in place. Questions that may help you and your provider include:
- What would a healthy and successful sleep routine look like for me?
- Are there techniques, therapies, or treatments that you think might help me?
- If I need more support, who can I talk to about my sleep?
Behavioral Health Specialists at Cheshire are a reliable resource for sleep support, especially when such issues as stress or anxiety are putting sleep out of reach. They work with you and your provider to problem-solve the potential mental and emotional hurdles that contribute to disrupted sleep.
“Once people discover and understand their own sleep problems, they can build more supportive habits, or we can create a personalized treatment plan together,” says Behavioral Health Specialist Catherine Sickles, LCMHC. “If you are willing to do the work, you may be able to enjoy consistently good quality sleep soon, which can have such a positive effect on your life.”
Related Event: Each spring and fall, Catherine Sickles, LCMHD offers a series of free monthly workshops designed to help you sleep better. Find upcoming workshops in our event calendar.
Related Post: 9 Sleep Tips to Help You Get the Best Rest
To make an appointment with your Primary Care Provider at Cheshire Medical Center, call our main Keene number at (603) 354 5400, Walpole Family Practice at (603) 756-3960, or Winchester Family Practice at (603) 239-6351. You can also request an appointment through myD-H on your computer or the MyChart app on your mobile phone.