Primary Care Assessment and Management of Sleep Disorders

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PurposeTo review the functions of sleep and describe an appropriate sleep assessment for the identification of sleep disorders for nurse practitioners (NP) in primary care. Guidelines for management and referral are included.Data SourcesSelected scientific literature, national consensus guidelines, and the author's experience.ConclusionsThe incidence of sleep deprivation in the United States is generally unacknowledged by the public as well as health care professionals. Unfortunately, the catastrophic and debilitating consequences that result from alterations in sleep are usually noted after significant physical and emotional damage have occurred.Implications for PracticeAn assessment of sleep hygiene and the physical, emotional, or lifestyle changes that alter sleep patterns should be a part of the NP's routine encounter with patients. Referral is indicated for suspicion of obstructive sleep apnea, narcolepsy, restless leg syndrome, complex motor activity, or if the condition fails to respond to therapeutic management.

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