Medical questions & health advice by board certified doctors
"Why can't I fall asleep?"
I'm a 31yr old male and for years I've been having trouble falling asleep at night. I have lost so many jobs because of this problem. I even took night shifts to see if that would help but then I don't fall asleep during the day, but when I do sleep I wake up extremely wore out like I didn't sleep at all. I have asked my parents if anyone in the family had the same problems and they said that this is the first that they ever heard of this happening to anyone. But my mother said she remembered that a long time ago I didn't sleep for a week and when I did fall asleep after that I was out for a day and a half. I don't know what to do and I'm afraid that this will ruin my marriage. Please help.
This is a great question. Sleep is very important to almost every aspect of your health, from physical to mental. It is very important that you make an appointment with your primary care doctor to discuss your symptoms and have a full history and physical. Depending on what your doctor discovers during your appointment, he or she may refer you to a sleep specialist or send you for a sleep study. During a sleep study you are hooked up to many monitors and videotaped to watch for your breathing, movements, etc during sleep. There are many causes for insomnia (inability to fall asleep or stay asleep). They are not always genetic (run in families). Anxiety and depression are common causes of sleep difficulties so your doctor will likely ask about your mood. Your doctor will also ask questions about your caffeine consumption. There are many medications that can help with insomnia but there are also many behavioral techniques that your doctor will likely discuss with you. Sleep hygiene is the term that is used to describe good sleep habits. They include using the bedroom only for sleep (no tv, reading, etc), keep the room dark and cool, wind down about an hour or two before bed (warm bath, dim the lights, no stimulating music or tv, etc).
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