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Sleep Clinic – When Is Time To Visit It?

a profile image of TSA author Alex

Written By Alex Petrović

Certified Sleep Consultant

Doctors walking down a clinic hallway

8 April 2024 4 min read

GP can generally recommend you to visit a sleep clinic if you have trouble sleeping. If you notice symptoms of sleep disorder despite good sleep hygiene and healthy habits, it may be time to talk to your doctor. The most common symptoms are headaches after waking up, difficulty sleeping, excessive daytime sleepiness, sleep walking, etc.

There are many disturbing symptoms that occur as a result of sleep disorders. They affect one's mood, energy level, and general health. It can even cause high blood pressure.

Unfortunately, these symptoms are very difficult to recognize because they develop gradually. It takes a long time before you are sure you have a sleep disorder. However, it is not impossible to establish a diagnosis.

A sleep clinic can help you with that, which will diagnose sleep disorders and suggest appropriate treatment. It is important to distinguish between restless nights and symptoms that tell you to visit a sleep clinic.

While a few nights of throwing and turning may be the result of stress or a change in routine, the inability to fall asleep for an extended period of time indicates a serious problem.

What is a sleep clinic?

woman getting checked up by a doctor

At this place, all the necessary specialist examinations (neurological, internal medicine, psychiatric) can be performed, diagnostics can be performed and adequate therapy can be given, with continuous monitoring of the patient. Here, experts will take your problems very seriously and conduct adequate examinations and treatments. Sleep clinic can help you improve the quality of your life, because the lack of normal sleep affects your general health.

Poor sleep after a long time damages many organs such as the People who struggle with insomnia see improvement after their sleep clinic changes their lives. After the treatment, they become able to manage their weight, eat healthily and adopt better sleep hygiene.

When is time to visit a sleep clinic?

There are data that at least 50% of healthy adults have occasional and 15-20% chronic insomnia, which leads to serious disorders in daily life activities. In addition, insomnia can lead to worsening of many somatic and mental illnesses. The most common sleep disorder that patients complain of to their doctor is insomnia.

However, there are other sleep disorders such as obstructive sleep apnoea, snoring, narcolepsy etc. These are disorders that should be taken very seriously, consult a doctor as soon as possible and implement adequate measures of examination and treatment.

3 steps of sleep clinic treatment

Insomnia treatment can have many different forms. For example, behavioral or conversational therapy may be used. Medications or medical devices that contribute to better breathing during the night can also be used. When you visit a clinic, you can expect three steps of sleep clinic treatment. Each step is painless, non-invasive and is used for people who have trouble sleeping.

(In-home) Tests

The home test is used during sleep. Thanks to it, you can diagnose sleep problems. It usually consists of a device that has a portable overnight breathing monitor. For example, during sleep, the device will monitor your breathing and record oxygen levels, as well as breathing efforts. This way you will have all the necessary information about your sleeping habits.

These are pauses in breathing, etc. This way, many valuable details are revealed, on the basis of which the assessment of sleep problems is performed. The technology records a lot of signals, and that includes brain waves for sleep, muscle tone and leg movements. You will receive the device and all the necessary instructions from your doctor. Before you go to bed, try to follow the doctor's instructions. Modern devices like smart watches can also be helpful.

Analysis & interpretation of data

hand holding a graph

After you did everything the doctor told you and went to bed at the usual time, the device collected data throughout the night. The process lasted until you woke up and removed the sensor in the morning. Then, they will send the results back or forward them to your doctor. He will perform all the necessary analyzes with professional staff and with the help of technology.

Once he has gathered all the necessary information, he will contact you to discuss your condition. Very soon you will have final results that will indicate a specific sleep disorder. This process usually takes about two weeks, and sometimes longer.

Treatment

The specialist will review the report and send the results to your doctor. He will decide which treatment will help you re-establish necessary information, which means that you have to repeat the test. However, you will no longer do testing at home than in the lab.

After a follow-up examination and based on the data collected, you will discuss with your doctor the treatment or further evaluation you may need. You will probably need to change your sleep habits and find the cause of the stress. Your doctor may recommend behavioral therapy or some other form of relaxation. Also in same cases sleep medicine is necessary, so you might have to start taking sleeping pills regularly. If you suffer from obstructive sleep apnoea, continuous positive airway pressure (CPAP) is something that can help you.

What to look for when choosing a sleep clinic?

woman in a clinic being tested

If you have determined that you have a sleep problem or find a sign of a disorder, it is important to consider at least a few options before deciding on one specialist sleep clinic. Just like in any industry, there are many clinics that can provide you with the necessary help and treat insomnia. Pay attention to the cost of the clinic, professional staff and other factors.

Costs & pricing

Clinic costs may vary. The price will depend on several factors. For example, these are the services that the clinic offers, as well as what the insurance provider covers. The most important thing is to have cooperation with your doctor and sleep clinic. Of course, it is equally important to have good communication with your insurance provider. This way you will be sure to find the right clinic, because you have received all the information about the costs involved in your treatment.

“Portable” tests

Before you decide on a particular clinic, it is important to determine that it has the appropriate portable tests. This type is intended for the diagnosis of patients with obvious sleep disorders. Thus, tests are not performed to determine if a patient has a problem but to determine the severity of symptoms. This is a great option for those who live in remote locations or for those who are worried about sleeping in a foreign place.

It will certainly be more comfortable for them to perform the search at home instead of in the laboratory. The process involves ordering a test kit, using it within 48 hours of receipt, and returning the test. After that, the experts will download the data and you will receive an interpretation or the final result.

Doctor’s referral

doctor holding stethoscope

To make sure that the clinic provides quality diagnostic services, manages patients well and guarantees you quality, you need to find a good doctor. The clinic will have the appropriate accreditation if it proves a qualified doctor who successfully supervises the center for sleep, education of technicians, as well as the training of its medical technicians. Only a highly educated and professional team can help you.

Therefore, make sure that the doctor is a certified sleep doctor or that he has undergone additional training. Search until you find an experienced professional who will follow all the standard of practice, because then you will be in experienced hands.

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FAQs about sleep clinics

The feeling of constant exhaustion is one of the reasons why people turn to experts. The cause may be lifestyle factors, medical conditions, sleep patterns or sleep disorders. To get as many answers and explanations for your condition as possible, learn answers to some of the frequently asked questions.

Where can I find sleep clinics?

You can find sleep clinic online, but you can also contact your doctor or some other health professionals who will give you instructions.

Do sleep clinics allow virtual testing?

There are home sleep tests that experts will analyze and provide you with all the information.

Does insurance cover the cost of a sleep clinic’s costs?

Yes, treating of sleep problems are usually covered by health insurance, but you should make sure to check it with your insurance representative.

Do I have to sleep over in a sleep clinic?

It all depends on whether you are doing the test at home or in a clinical setting. So usually you don’t have to stay overnight in a sleep clinic.

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About the author

Alex Petrović
Sleep Consultant
A CPD certified Sleep Consultant with more than 2000 hours of research into all the different ways we can get a great night's sleep. As a former insomniac, I know how difficult life can be without a nightly recovery and I love that I get to share everything I've learned with you all. So hopefully we can all sleep soundly!
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