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Can Keeping a Sleep Diary Help Diagnose Sleep Apnea?

March 5, 2021

Filed under: Uncategorized — 21stsleep @ 7:19 pm
an up-close look at a person’s sleep log as well as a cup of tea, cell phone, and notepad

Helping your patients achieve better rest is your main goal, right? You want to identify a solution that will allow them to sleep without waking frequently throughout the night and ultimately achieve a better quality of life. So, what is the first step? Diagnosing the problem is what most people would say, but how can you do it effectively? Is asking your patients to keep a sleep diary a key component? Find out why this recommended task will help you and your clients take the next step in addressing common sleep problems.

What’s the Purpose of a Sleep Diary?

When an individual as difficulty sleeping throughout the night, they may or may not think to keep a log of these struggles. If it occurs only a few times over the course of several months, they may not think much about it. However, if it is happening on a nightly basis and is resulting in chronic fatigue, moodiness, frequent headaches, and other symptoms commonly associated with sleep apnea, you may want to recommend they keep a sleep diary.

Its purposes are many, including:

  • Providing you and the patient with a clear understanding of their sleep patterns and habits
  • Helping an individual identify ways to improve their sleep
  • Providing you, the sleep dentist, with a better way to diagnose sleep apnea
  • Allowing the individual to better monitor effective treatment

What Should Be Included in a Sleep Diary?

When talking to your patients about the idea of keeping a sleep diary, make sure they incorporate the following information each night, as this will ensure you get the most valuable information to produce a proper diagnosis:

  • The time they went to bed
  • The time it took to fall asleep
  • What time they got out of bed
  • The number of times they woke throughout the night
  • Problems that affected sleep (i.e., restless leg syndrome, insomnia, inability to breathe)
  • How many sodas, coffees, or other caffeine-filled beverages were consumed (same for alcohol)
  • Medications
  • Physical exercise (time spent engaging)
  • If naps were taken throughout the day

Based on the information provided in the sleep diary, you can help to determine if an individual to undergo a sleep study. By taking this additional step in the process, it is possible to provide a patient with a more accurate diagnosis that will lead to successful results.

Identifying the root cause of sleep apnea will only serve to benefit both you and your patients as they work toward improving their quality of life. Not only will they have a better understanding of what is keeping them from achieving adequate rest, but you’ll have the information you need to ensure appropriate therapy is administered and optimal results are achieved.

About 21st Century Sleep Seminars
Dr. Kent Smith is a top professional in sleep medicine who has experience in treating, writing, and speaking about sleep disorders. His wealth of knowledge has helped other dentists integrate sleep apnea treatment into their own practices. At 21st Century Sleep Seminars, we can provide you with the information, tips, advice, and network of professionals you need to effectively treat these sleep disorders your patients are facing. To learn more, visit our website or call (972) 255-3712.

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