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Insomnia treatment, diagnosis & prescriptions

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Can I talk to a doctor on Maple about my insomnia?

Yes, you can. The healthcare practitioner or sleep therapist will want to discuss any symptoms or signs of insomnia that you’re experiencing, as well as your medical history and sleep habits.

Depending on the situation, the healthcare provider may suggest a physical exam. They may also suggest additional testing, such as a sleep study, in order to provide a clear insomnia diagnosis.

Once the healthcare practitioner is able to provide an insomnia diagnosis, they’ll be able to make insomnia treatment suggestions, which are designed to meet your specific needs.

Can I get a prescription on Maple?

Yes, our physicians can prescribe insomnia medications online during your consultation. Once you accept a prescription for insomnia, you’ll have the option to pick it up from any pharmacy or to have it delivered right to your door at no additional cost.

You can visit our How it Works page to learn more.

What is insomnia?

Insomnia is a commonly occurring sleep disorder that makes it challenging for you to sleep. This could involve difficulty falling asleep, staying asleep, or waking up too soon and being unable to get back to sleep.

There are two different types of insomnia: primary and secondary.

Primary insomnia is the name for sleep problems that aren’t directly linked to other health conditions.

Secondary insomnia refers to sleep problems that are caused by other underlying health conditions.

What are the symptoms of insomnia?

Insomnia itself is often a symptom of another issue. Even primary insomnia could be the result of lifestyle habits affecting your ability to sleep.

The most commonly occurring associated symptoms or signs of insomnia include:

  • Worrying about being unable to sleep
  • Waking up too early
  • Waking up throughout the night
  • Not feeling rested after sleep
  • Irritability or mood swings
  • Depression or anxiety
  • Sleepiness or fatigue during the day
  • Difficulty falling asleep at night
  • Trouble focusing or paying attention
  • Difficulty with memory
What causes insomnia?

Primary insomnia is often caused by lifestyle factors that have an impact on sleep. This could include things like:

  • Eating too close to bedtime
  • Poor sleeping habits or changes in sleep patterns
  • Work schedule – shift workers
  • Noise, light, or temperature\
  • Traveling
  • Stress levels
  • Traumatic events
  • Changes in activity
  • Alcohol consumption
  • Drug use
  • Stimulants (coffee, tea, nicotine, etc.)

On the other hand, secondary insomnia is caused by other underlying conditions. This could include conditions, such as:

  • Certain medications
  • Heartburn
  • Arthritis
  • Mental health disorders (anxiety, depression, etc.)
  • Sleep-related disorders, like sleep apnea
  • Chronic pain conditions (arthritis, back problems, etc.)
  • Respiratory problems (asthma, bronchitis, etc.)
  • Cancer
  • Endocrine problems like hyperthyroidism

There are factors that can increase the risks of experiencing insomnia, including:

  • Being over the age of 60
  • Being a woman
  • Having a rotating work schedule
  • Having mental health or physical conditions that are known to cause insomnia in some people
  • Chronic, high levels of stress in daily life
How is insomnia diagnosed?

Before offering an insomnia diagnosis, your healthcare provider will want to discuss the severity of the insomnia symptoms you’re experiencing, as well as your medical history. The healthcare provider will also want to know about your regular sleep habits, and may want to perform a physical exam.

If the healthcare practitioner believes that you could be experiencing secondary insomnia, they may suggest additional testing to identify any underlying conditions that could be causing your insomnia. This will involve whatever testing is typically involved with diagnosing the underlying condition that’s believed to be present.

In some cases, your healthcare provider may order a sleep study if they’re unable to provide you with a clear insomnia diagnosis. This may help provide a diagnosis for certain sleep disorders, such as sleep apnea or restless leg syndrome.

Once your healthcare practitioner is able to provide you with a diagnosis for your insomnia, they’ll be able to recommend insomnia treatments that will address your specific needs.

How is insomnia treated?

It can be challenging to find insomnia treatments that will work for you. Your healthcare provider will likely suggest trying natural treatment methods, before suggesting prescription insomnia medications.

There are a number of natural insomnia treatments they may suggest, including:

  • Sleep restriction
  • Relaxation techniques
  • Stimulus control therapy
  • Cognitive behavioral therapy
  • Remaining passively awake (also called paradoxical intention)
  • Light therapy
  • Avoiding stimulants
  • Changes in dietary habits or meal times
  • Reducing or avoiding alcohol and drug use

When these lifestyle changes and therapies are ineffective, your healthcare provider may sometimes suggest cognitive behavioural therapy for insomnia. Alternatively, they may suggest prescription insomnia medications, or a combination of both treatments.

However, prescription insomnia medications can have negative side effects, can be habit forming, and carry an increased risk of death. It’s not recommended to rely on these types of medications for long-term use, unless instructed to do so by your healthcare team.

When to see a doctor for insomnia?

Everyone has difficulty sleeping occasionally. However, if you’ve been experiencing severe insomnia symptoms, or chronic signs of insomnia, it’s a good idea to talk to a healthcare provider.

While insomnia is sometimes caused by your lifestyle, it can be the result of underlying conditions that may require treatment. A healthcare practitioner from Maple will be able to make appropriate recommendations, so that you can determine the cause of your insomnia.

Insomnia can have a huge impact on our mental health and daily life. You don’t have to manage insomnia alone. Get the help you need from Maple so you can get back to feeling rested.

What is Maple?

With Maple, you can start talking to a healthcare provider about your symptoms in a matter of minutes. We’re a healthcare app for fast, convenient 24/7 access to Canadian doctors.

You simply log in, tap a button to request a consultation, and we’ll immediately connect you to a doctor via live chat or video. You can visit our How it Works page to learn more.

Our healthcare team can assess symptoms, and provide treatment, including prescriptions as necessary.

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