Insights for Medical Professionals
Helping patients get healthy sleep pays off.
Physical health and sleep health are closely connected. Not getting enough healthy sleep is associated with increased blood pressure, unhealthy weight gain, Type 2 diabetes, and heart disease. Mental health and sleep health are also closely connected.
Sleep problems can be both symptoms and risk factors of psychological distress and psychiatric disorders. Chronic sleeplessness has been found to nearly double one’s risk of depression, as well.
Healthy sleep is about quantity and quality.
For most adults, that means 7+ hours each night AND:
Not waking up frequently
Going to bed and waking up at roughly the same time each day
Waking up feeling refreshed
Helpful tips for talking about healthy sleep with patients.
Ask One Question
Asking just one question, “How is your sleep?” prompts patients to reveal the sleep problems they aren’t talking about and helps you uncover the root cause of other health problems.
Sleep Disorder Screening
Give patients a chance to tell you more about their sleep before their office visit by incorporating the AASM’s three sleep disorder screening questions into your patient intake system.
Reduce Their Anxiety
Let your patients know most sleep problems aren’t as severe as chronic insomnia or sleep apnea, so they’re treatable without medications or CPAP machines.
Sleep and Mental Health
If patients raise mental health concerns, ask about their sleep and any recent changes to their sleep.
Lifestyle Changes Can Help
Improving sleep can be easy. Lifestyle changes like spending more time outdoors or avoiding caffeine late in the day can make a big difference.
Bust the Myths
You play an important role in busting myths related to sleep. For example, many people wrongly assume snoring is a sign of good sleep.
Testing for sleep disorders can now be done at home in many cases, and telemedicine frequently can be used to provide convenient sleep care.
Cognitive Behavioral Therapy
For insomnia symptoms that don’t improve with lifestyle changes, cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) is often an effective long-term treatment.
For patients in need of more support, refer to an AASM-accredited sleep center.
What are the benefits of getting healthy sleep?
Healthy sleep lets your body check off its overnight to-do list, which helps you: