Health and Fitness

Do You Need a Sleep Doctor? Find a certified sleep specialist!

Do you know how many people struggle with something as simple as falling asleep?

The answer might be more startling than you would have thought. It has been estimated that more than 70 million Americans struggle to sleep each night. They might find it difficult to either fall asleep or remain asleep throughout the night. As a result, such individuals are less productive and alert throughout the day. If you think that you might be facing similar difficulties in sleeping, you need to see a certified sleep medicine specialist. In addition, here’s a guide to help you understand different sleep issues and the right way to approach a sleep specialist,

Different Sleep Disorders That Haunt You at Night?

Insomnia is one of the most common sleep disorders that renders a person incapable of falling asleep or remaining asleep. Insomnia can be acute or chronic, depending on the duration of its onset. Acute insomnia lasts for a few days to a few weeks, while the chronic condition persists for three nights per week for three months or longer. Insomnia is also classified into primary insomnia and comorbid insomnia. The former is not linked with any other underlying health condition while comorbid insomnia is associated with other underlying problems.

Another condition is excessive sleepiness disorder, as the name suggests, indicates consistent drowsiness throughout the day. ESD is commonly manifested as a result of insomnia as people are more sleepy during the day as they have battled to fall asleep the previous night. Narcolepsy is a sleep disorder that comes under the umbrella of ESD. It is characterized by frequent sleep attacks during the day. If you have narcolepsy, you’d fall asleep at any time during the day followed by intervals of complete alertness.

Sleep apnea:

Sleep apnea is a disorder characterized by occasional obstruction of the breathing pattern during sleep. obstructive sleep apnea (OSA) is a sleep-related breathing disorder in which there is either partial or complete airway blockage due to the collapse of the tissues at the back of the throat. In central sleep apnea, a neurological sleep disorder, the brain is unable to send signals to muscles involved in breathing.

Restless leg syndrome:

Restless leg syndrome is another sleep disorder that is more prevalent in elders, and more particularly in women. It is characterized by an overwhelming urge to move the legs due to an uncomfortable sensation. In RLS, you may either experience pain, numbness, or a pricking sensation in the leg that forces you to move the leg and eventually wake up.


Cataplexy is a sleep disorder that is characterized by a temporary and involuntary loss of muscle control with or without a sleep paralysis attack.

What is the Right Time to See a Specialist?

You may be living with a sleep disorder and might not know it. Your dilemma to go to sleep at night may be linked to unhealthy practices or a strenuous lifestyle. However, while these factors play an important role in your sleep health, it is not always the culprit. To help you navigate the reasons that affect your sleep, the following are the instances that you might relate to. If any of the following symptoms persist in your daily life, it is time to see a somnologist

Requiring 30 minutes or more each night to fall asleep
Waking up at night frequently and struggling to go back to sleep
Waking up too early
Not feeling rested despite a deep slumber
Experiencing fatigue
Experience regular nightmares

Which Physician Can Help You with Sleep Disorders?

The primary healthcare provider that can help you with your sleep-related issues is a sleep specialist or a somnologist. They are the physicians who care for your sleep health and perform different tests and recommend sleep studies. Somnologists, first complete their primary training in internal medicine and then take up additional training in sleep medicine. The board-certified physician has now licensed to perform sleep studies at their sleep medicine practice facility.

After performing a sleep study be it in the clinic or at home, the somnologist now diagnoses a sleep disorder and strategizes the treatment plan. However, in some conditions such as breathing-related or neurological-related sleep disorders, the somnologist may refer the patient to sleep specialists such as a pulmonologist, neurologist, ENT, or even a dentist.


A pulmonologist treats sleep disorders that exist due to certain irregularities in the pulmonary system. Disorders such as obstructive sleep apnea (OSA) are characterized by occasional pauses in breathing during sleep. It is very typical for pulmonologists to tend to patients suffering from sleep disorders in a healthcare setup. These specialists manage lung and respiratory diseases that contribute to difficulties including OSA. In such cases, they work together with a sleep specialist to help patients breathe better and sleep better.


Central sleep apnea is a neurological-related sleep disorder that requires effective treatment strategies by a neurologist. If your primary care provider diagnoses CSA, they’ll refer you to one and manage your condition synergistically.


An ENT or otolaryngologist specializes in the issues concerning your ears, nose, and throat. However, you may also see them for sleep disorders like sleep apnea, and snoring. These conditions arise due to obstruction in the throat, and hence an ENT is a viable choice for its treatment. When you visit an ENT for sleep disorders, they’ll opt for sleep studies or titration studies for comprehensive diagnosis. Sometimes, the ENT specialist can recommend surgery if/when CPAP fails to remove any blockage in the throat that induces snoring.


Dentists are well capable of diagnosing and addressing conditions like obstructive sleep apnea and bruxism (grinding teeth during sleep). They offer gold standard treatment like CPAP which offers 100% efficiency but is difficult to perform.

By diagnosing, managing, and treating various sleep disorders, dentists are able to broaden their scope of practice. As a result, more and more dentists are training in sleep medicine.


Psychiatrists are physicians that contribute to the treatment of the highest share of patients with sleep disorders including insomnia, narcolepsy, and central sleep apnea. These conditions cause difficulty in falling asleep at night but along with excessive sleepiness throughout the day. A psychiatrist prioritizes identifying the risk for sleep disorders and their possible cause.

Where To Find a Sleep Specialist?

Now that you know the types of sleep disorders and the types of physicians that can treat them, it’s time to locate them. You can begin your search with a sleep specialist near me – lathrup village and connect to somnologists in your vicinity. In addition to online search, you can look at:

American Academy of Sleep Medicine (AASM):

It is an organization of physicians and researchers who work diligently toward sleep medicine. The medical professionals who are a part of AASM are proficient in behavioral and cognitive strategies that improve sleep health. Here you can find a sleep physician as per your requirement through their list of accredited sleep centers.

American Board of Sleep Medicine (ABSM):

it is another organization that curates board-certified sleep physicians and simplifies the process of searching for such sleep specialist.

American Academy of Dental Sleep Health (AADSM):

This organization inculcates the names of all the dentists that can help you with your sleep issues. Their searchable directory can link you to dentists who are nearby in your vicinity or accept your insurance.

So now you have the answers to most of your sleep-related concerns, it is time to schedule an appointment and take the first step towards better sleep.

ALSO READ: Best Genetic Doctor On Sickle Cell Disease And Pregnancy

Muhammad Hussain

An enthusiastic digital content producer.

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