Sleep disorder or just sleepy?
If you are not sure whether you are at risk, take the
Sleep Quiz below to help determine if you show symptoms of a sleep disorder.
Once you've finished the quiz, take the results to your doctor for discussion.
You may want to consider a sleep study to help determine if, and what kind of
sleep disorder you may have.
- I have been told I snore loudly.
- I often wake up snorting or gasping for breath.
- I often wake up with a headache.
- I have high blood pressure.
- I am often tired and irritable.
- I get up frequently at night to urinate.
- I have trouble concentrating during the day.
- I have fallen asleep while driving, or at work.
- I have been told I kick and jerk during sleep.
- I have been told I stop breathing during sleep.
- I am overweight or my neck collar size is more than 17 inches.
- I find it difficult to stay awake while reading or watching television.
- I have had trouble falling asleep consistently over the past several
If you checked two or more statements above, you should inform your physician.
Sleep hygiene means habits that help you to have a good
night's sleep. Common sleeping problems (such as insomnia) are often caused by
bad habits reinforced over years or even decades.
You can dramatically improve your sleep quality by making a few minor
adjustments to lifestyle and attitude.
It is also important to spend an appropriate amount of time in bed, not too
little, or too excessive. This may vary by individual; for example, if someone
has a problem with daytime sleepiness, they should spend a minimum of eight
hours in bed, if they have difficulty sleeping at night, they should limit
themselves to 7 ½ hours in bed in order to keep the sleep pattern consolidated.
In addition, good sleep hygiene practices include:
Improve your Sleeping Environment
- Avoid napping during the day; it can disturb the normal pattern of sleep
- Avoid stimulants such as caffeine, nicotine, and alcohol too close to
bedtime. While alcohol is well known to speed the onset of sleep, it
disrupts sleep in the second half as the body begins to metabolize the
alcohol, causing arousal.
- Exercise can promote good sleep. Vigorous exercise should be taken in the
morning or late afternoon. A relaxing exercise, like yoga, can be done
before bed to help initiate a restful night's sleep.
- Food can be disruptive right before sleep; stay away from large meals close
to bedtime. Also dietary changes can cause sleep problems, if someone is
struggling with a sleep problem, it's not a good time to start
experimenting with spicy dishes. And, remember, chocolate has caffeine.
Relax your mind
- Ensure adequate exposure to natural light. This is particularly important
for older people who may not venture outside as frequently as children and
adults. Light exposure helps maintain a healthy sleep-wake cycle.
- Establish a regular relaxing bedtime routine. Try to avoid emotionally
upsetting conversations and activities before trying to go to sleep. Don't
dwell on, or bring your problems to bed.
- Associate your bed with sleep. It's not a good idea to use your bed to
watch TV, listen to the radio, or read (violent/aggressive serials/stores).
- Make sure that the sleep environment is pleasant and relaxing. The bed
should be comfortable, the room should not be too hot or cold, or too
- Take a warm bath.
Insomnia is often caused by worrying. Suggestions
- If you are a chronic bedtime worrier, try scheduling a half hour of 'worry
time' well before bed. Once you retire, remind yourself that you've already
done your worrying for the day.
- Try relaxation exercises. You could consciously relax every part of your
body, starting with your toes and working up to your scalp. Or you could
think of a restful scene, concentrate on the rhythmic rise and fall of your
breathing, or focus on a mantra (repeating a word or phrase constantly).
The most important sleep hygiene measure is to maintain a
regular sleep and wake pattern seven days a week.
What is a Sleep Diary?
Your Sleep Diary records how much Sleep you have gotten, when you went to Sleep
and when you got up and some other facts about your Sleeping routines. The
Sleep Diary is very simple. You will print out a blank form and you will fill
it in. You do not need to be exact with times. Estimates are good enough.
Always track other factors in your Sleep Diary, such as getting up in the
middle and why.
Here are some of the things that should be entered in
your Sleep Diary every day:
- Medicines and doses taken; Times medicines were taken in relation to eating
- The time you go bed
- Approximately when you FallaSleep
- Note each time that you wake up during the night ,and for how long
- Note the time that you wake up in the morning
- Note whether or not you needed an alarm clock to awaken you
- Note every nap that taken during the day, when you went to Sleep, and when
- Make a note of how you felt during times of the day. Note if you felt
groggy, drowsy, or tired and what time