How to Choose a Sleep Doctor

How to Choose a Sleep Doctor

If you have difficulties with slipping, you should seek help from a sleep doctor but how to choose him? Of course, your attending physician can give you an appointment card to a sleep doctor but you have more options here than you expect. Before choosing a specialist who will treat and help you, you should take into account the following details.

Who is a sleep doctor

If you suffer from sleep disorder and seek a cure for this, you should know that many professionals will take part in your care. As already mentioned, the first doctor you should visit is your attending physician. Then, he can refer you to a sleep expert, most often a practitioner too, or to a midlevel specialist, for example, a nurse practitioner or a medical assistant fulfilling his duty supervised by a physician. Auxiliary staff studying your sleep may be also involved. So, one of the most significant part of your treatment is a choice of your sleep specialist and the medical center providing your treatment.

Sleep specialist training

Certified sleep specialists have studied for many years.
Doctors become college graduates after four-year education, go to medical school, then finish their three or five-year residency and, finally, study sleep medicine for two years. Specialists can pursue their sleep fellowship after studying many specialties, for example:

• Pulmonary medicine;
• Family practice;
• General medicine;
• Pediatrics;
• Neurology;
• Mental medicine;
• Otorhinolaryngology.

Some doctors may practice sleep medicine even if they are not formally certified. But sleep specialists of superior expert category study for a very long time, complete their training and pass national examination showing their professionalism. Moreover, graduates who have recently completed their study need to show their great knowledge of this sphere and to be re-certified every 10 years taking board exams.

Selecting a sleep doctor with credentials

First of all, you should consult the doctor who has a sleep medicine credential and who is certified by American Board of Medical Specialties. This means that professionalism of the specialist was inspected and that he passed all board tests and exams proving his knowledge in this sphere.

If you need to go through additional sleep tests beyond a clinic evaluation, you can also visit a sleep center accredited by Academy of Sleep Medicine.

Selecting a right sleep doctor

Now it is not so difficult to find a sleep specialist. You may ask your attending physician, family members or friends for some advice. You may read some feedbacks or comments on the work of a particular doctor online, as we live in the Internet era. Make sure that the chosen specialist is accessible and affordable to you and that he will provide a proper treatment.

After choosing the doctor you will probably want to be aware of if the doctor can fit your specific needs. In the first stage, you can check it by considering how your condition is diagnosed.

You can also choose a center providing more thorough testing including:

• Polysomnography;
• Testing on sleep apnea;
• Testing on hyposomnia;
• Testing on sleep latency.

From day to day more resources and methods available appear, technologies are developing, and this all gives you a good opportunity to find a reliable sleep specialist meeting all your needs.

The Main Signs of Sleep Apnea

If you feel tired and absent-minded in the morning, despite of a long sleep, this is the first sign to consult a doctor. In such a way the symptoms of apnea are presented. Apnea often happens in snoring people. This is a stop of breathing while sleeping, and it might cause severe health problems. Consider the main signs of obstructive sleep apnea in order to improve this problem.


Disturbances of breathing during sleep can cause chronic depression. According to the results of the research, there is a cause-effect relationship between the obstructive sleep apnea syndrome and the development depressive symptoms. Excess daytime sleepiness and severe obstructive sleep apnea are associated with depression or its onset, which is even more risky. The likelihood of depression in men with sleep disorders and excessive daytime sleepiness is four times higher than in men who do not suffer from nocturnal sleep apnea.

Problems Thinking

It is shown that people with sleep apnea demonstrate significant changes in the brain functions. Perhaps this is the reason for frequent problems in thinking with sleep apnea, difficulty in remembering and making decisions. As a result of the research, it turned out that among people with symptoms of apnea, 45% had problems with thinking and memory. Moreover, elderly people suffering from the stop of breathing while sleeping often complain of memory troubles and dementia than those who sleep peacefully at night.


80% of men with sleep apnea have erectile dysfunction. These patients complain of a decrease in potency, absence of erection during sleep, and sort lasting erection.

Sleep apnea causes the reduced production of testosterone, because of the lack of oxygen. Oxygen starvation of tissues causes atherosclerosis of blood vessels, impairment of blood supply to all organs, including genitals. Hence, the more episodes of sleep apnea happen, the higher the risk of impotence is.

High Blood Pressure

High blood pressure is observed in 50% of patients with apnea. A sleep apnea syndrome is a main reason that causes secondary arterial hypertension. It is proved that patients suffering from obstructive sleep apnea, have no decrease in nighttime pressure (this should be normal). In some cases, night pressure indicators are even higher than daytime pressure! The significant decrease in blood pressure is observed in patients with sleep apnea 30 minutes after awakening, without taking medication. This indicates that a rise in pressure is facilitated by sleep violation.

Waking to Urinate

Apnea may be the main reason of nighttime urination, which disturbs some men suffering from prostatic hyperplasia. Treatment of this problem, according to experts, will prevent patients from getting up at night. Obstructive sleep apnea is one of the main causes of the increased urge to urinate at night, which is experienced by men with an enlarged prostate.


Daytime heartburn is a very common symptom, which is most often associated with eating, and which is common to many people. However, sometimes a burning sensation in upper abdomen can occur at night, it appears without any reason and leads to awakenings causing considerable discomfort. The syndrome of obstructive sleep apnea can be associated with numerous disorders of the gastrointestinal tract, in particular, with the appearance of heartburn.

Dry Mouth and Drooling

Two contradictory findings may both suggest sleep apnea: dry mouth and drooling. As the stop of breathing happens, a man opens the mouth, as the result, the mucous membrane is over dried. Also, except for the sensation of dryness and tightness in the mouth, there are such symptoms as: sore throat, burning of the tongue, redness, small puffiness.

Somewhat unexpectedly, drooling may suggest the same situation. When the mouse is open, the saliva is free to drip from the corners of the mouth. Breathing disorders while sleeping are very dangerous to health, and can even lead to death.