If you would break your arm, crack your tooth, or have a pain in your eye, I think you know who you would go to, and so would I.
But when your sleep is falling apart, where exactly do you turn? GP, therapist, psychologist, neurologist, sleep clinic, sleep coach? It all can be a little bit confusing.
This is a frequent topic of discussion that I speak about a lot with my clients, so I thought I would share some thoughts that could help clarify the issues.
This is Part I where we will speak about insomnia, stay tuned for next week where we will discuss snoring and apnea.
I always advise people to trust their intuition with these kind of decisions, so let me offer a few guiding questions to help you start thinking through the issue.
Do you already know the cause of your insomnia or are you totally clueless why you can't sleep?
If you know the reason, or have a pretty good idea, then you should start with the specialist that deals with that area specifically. If you have unresolved trauma that haunts you at night, call a trauma therapist. Stress with your spouse in the bedroom? Call a marriage counselor.
But if your case is not so black and white, as most people I speak to, then read on.
How are you looking to resolve your issue?
Pills to give you instant relief or a more natural, holistic approach?
Are you looking to get a stronger dose of sleeping pills or kick them completely?
Do you need an overnight sleep test to tell you that you have insomnia or have you figured that out on your own?
(Funny thing is that if people can't sleep in their own beds, they really can't sleep in a sleep lab.)
Do you only trust people with 12 letters after their name and need to work with insurance or are you open to broader, more creative approaches that think outside the box and create custom plans?
Do you feel you are just looking for information, or do you like the idea of compassionate follow up and encouragement?
Have you tried traditional methods and nothing has worked or are you just starting out looking for solutions?
Do you like the idea of working with someone who is a generalist or a sleep specialist? Do you want someone who learned about sleep from a text book or someone who has personally struggled with and overcame sleep issues?
Are you starting to get the idea? There is no one size fits all solution to sleep. In fact, as a sleep coach, I highly encourage people to consult their doctors, and work in collaboration with the medical system and others therapists to see the best results.
But at the end of the day, the emerging world of sleep coaching has found the ability to get to the root cause of sleep issues in a very different perspective than traditional western medicine, and has proved extremely effective for people with even severe sleep issues.
That being said, some people like the white coat, MD style and want to try all of the conventional methods before pursuing other avenues.
The choice is yours! But the most important thing is to know is that you shouldn't settle for exhaustion. You have options available and total transformation is possible (spoken by a former insomniac myself.)