Finding a Sleep Doctor in Your Location
We often take sleep for granted as part of our daily routine. What you may not know is that sleep is critical to our health. Sleep disorders affect the quality and quantity of a person’s sleep. Sleep disorders have short-term consequences like changes in mood, poor memory, and increased stress1. Long-term sleep disorders can have severe effects like high blood pressure, heart disease, and diabetes1.
If you struggle to get good-quality sleep, you aren’t alone. Around 1 in 5 people have difficulty falling asleep or staying asleep2. If you have been considering talking to a doctor about your sleep, congratulations! You have taken the first step toward improving your sleep and your health.
What Kind of Sleep Clinician Do You Need?
Sleep disorders can have many different causes. Many types of clinicians can diagnose and treat sleep disorders.
Physicians Who Are Sleep Specialists
Physicians with an MD or DO can complete training to specialize in sleep disorders. They may also be certified by the American Board of Sleep Medicine (ABSM). These sleep specialists will review your medical history and symptoms. They can order sleep studies and check for medical issues like apnea. These doctors are usually part of a sleep center.
Sleep Psychologists or Psychiatrists
Our mental health and attitudes can have a significant impact on our sleep. Psychologists and psychiatrists can help you address thoughts and behaviors that interfere with sleep. Use this link to see if sleep therapy is a good fit for you. Psychiatrists can also prescribe medications to help.
Neurologists treat disorders of the brain and nervous system. Some conditions like Alzheimer’s disease or epilepsy can cause sleep problems. Neurologists can help manage sleep symptoms as part of their care.
Otorhinolaryngologists or ENT doctors treat problems in the ears, nose, and throat. These problems can result in sleep disorder symptoms like snoring or apnea.
How Do You Locate a Sleep Specialist?
There are many different healthcare professionals that can help diagnose and treat sleep disorders, so where do you start to find one for you?
The best place to start is to talk to your primary care physician. See what kind of sleep clinician they recommend for you. They can give you a referral to a trusted local specialist.
Check With Insurance
You may also want to check with your insurance provider to find a clinician. Many insurance companies have a directory of “in-network” providers. You can also call to get more information.
An internet search can help you find local doctors who specialize in sleep medicine. Use keywords like “sleep specialist,” “sleep disorders,” or “sleep center,” and your location. You can search for ABSM sleep centers here. Get recommendations from your social media contacts, friends, and family.
You can use internet searches to find online services. Online services are an excellent way to access more providers and they often cost less than in-person services. Thes services are available from the comfort of your own home or anywhere and anytime you need them. Online services can include live video sessions, easy-to-use apps, and more. You can check out Dawn Health’s online sleep therapy program here.
Cost of Services
From this healthcare cost comparison website, the reported cost of sleep studies performed in a clinic can range from $500 to over $3,000. Home sleep tests are less expensive but range in cost from around $150 to over $600. These prices will vary depending on whether you are paying out of pocket or using insurance. Costs with insurance will depend on your copays, deductibles, and "in-network" providers. Where you live can also affect the price. Many patients will need to pay for a consult with their sleep doctor before a sleep test and to go over the results after the test. These consults usually range in price from about $150 to $300 or the specialist co-pay cost through your insurance.
Unlike sleep tests, sleep therapy is not a diagnostic test and is not always covered by insurance. Sleep therapy can be used as an alternative to medication, or alongside medication, for treating insomnia. Cognitive-behavioral therapy for insomnia (CBT-I) is the preferred treatment recommended by the American Academy of Sleep Medicine (AASM)3. The average cost for CBT-I is around $450, but one significant advantage of sleep therapy is the option to use an online service. In fact, online services, like Dawn Health’s CBT-I for $89 per month, are significantly more affordable than in-person sessions.
Preparing for Your Sleep Specialist Visit
Before you visit a sleep specialist, you will want to track your sleep symptoms. Try keeping a journal or record for a few weeks, recording what you are experiencing. Take this with you to your appointment, so you don’t forget the essential details. You will also want to prepare any questions you have for the clinician. Some questions you may want to ask are:
- Is a sleep study needed?
- If so, is a home sleep test enough, or will I need to go into a lab for a sleep study?
- If I don’t need a sleep study, what are my options?
- Can lifestyle changes, medication, or therapy help?
Check if Sleep Therapy Is Right for You
Could sleep therapy be the right solution for you? Use this quick questionnaire to find out.
Chung, K. F., Yeung, W. F., Ho, F. Y. Y., Yung, K. P., Yu, Y. M., & Kwok, C. W. (2015). Cross-cultural and comparative epidemiology of insomnia: the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual (DSM), International Classification of Diseases (ICD) and International Classification of Sleep Disorders (ICSD). Sleep Medicine, 16(4), 477–482. https://doi.org/10.1016/J.SLEEP.2014.10.018 (https://doi.org/10.1016/J.SLEEP.2014.10.018)
Medic, G., Wille, M., & Hemels, M. E. (2017). Short- and long-term health consequences of sleep disruption. Nature and Science of Sleep, 9, 151–161. https://doi.org/10.2147/NSS.S134864
Schutte-Rodin, S., Broch, L., Buysse, D., Dorsey, C., & Sateia, M. (2008). Clinical guideline for the evaluation and management of chronic insomnia in adults. Journal of Clinical Sleep Medicine, 4(5), 487–504.
Therapist specializing in applying CBT principles for the treatment of insomnia.