Sleep and Aging

Frequently Asked Questions

29. What can I expect during my visit to the doctor?

During your appointment, your doctor will ask you about your symptoms and may have you fill out questionnaires that measure the severity of your sleep problem. It is also helpful to have your bed partner come with you to your appointment since he or she may be able to report symptoms unknown to you like loud snoring, breathing pauses, or movements during sleep.

Since older people are more likely to take medications and to have medical problems that may affect sleep, it is important for your doctor to know about all of your health conditions and medicines. Don't forget to mention over-the-counter medications, coffee or caffeine use, and alcohol since these may also have an impact on your sleep.

The doctor will then perform a physical examination. During the exam the doctor will look for signs of other diseases that may affect sleep, such as Parkinson's disease, stroke, heart disease, or obesity. If your doctor feels more information is needed, he or she may refer you to a sleep center for more testing.