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Assesing your sleep pattern: Important step

You may not realize it now, but by answering the above questions and by beginning your sleep diary, you have taken an extremely important-perhaps the most important-step toward achieving a good night's sleep. You have begun the process of identifying the nature of your sleep disorder and the health, lifestyle, and personal history factors that may be causing it. Armed with the information you provide, you or your doctor will be well on the way to overcoming your insomnia.

For example, in the Current Health and Lifestyle assessment you may have answered that you regularly exercise prior to going to bed, while in the Sleep History you may have noted that you always go to bed at the same time and that you frequently find yourself lying in bed for over an hour before falling asleep. From these responses I might conclude that it is your habit of exercising prior to bedtime that is interfering with your sleep. Many people believe that exercising before bed makes sleeping easier, but as you will see in Chapter 8, this is not true. Other areas of the assessment, such as cigarette smoking and alcohol consumption, will also be covered in subsequent chapters.

In the next chapter we'll follow your personal sleep assessment with a discussion of the different types of sleep disorders as well as the physical and psychological conditions that may be at the root of your problem.

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