As one of only a few Long Island Sleep Doctors, I often speak with Long Islanders who have never heard of the field of Sleep Medicine. I realize this when I am asked:
“Dr. Morgenstern, what do you do?”
“I practice sleep medicine,” I reply.
“What is that?” they question, along with a strange look on their face, as if I have just made this up as some sort of practical joke.
“Well, I treat people who have problems with their sleep.”
Most people believe me after a short period, which I gather from the usual response of “oh, ok” without further questioning. At that point, they will being telling me about their own sleep problems or how their partner “snores so loudly.” Interestingly, many of the individuals I am talking with are other physicians. Surprised? I am not. Doctors receive little formal education about sleep medicine in medical school. This can make it difficult for many individuals (as high as 40% of the population) with sleep problems to get appropriate treatment. I mean, if your doctor never heard of sleep medicine, what are the chances that they will recognize that you have a sleep problem? If they do, how would they know to send you to a sleep doctor, if they are unaware that the field of sleep medicine exists as a specialty? In fact, numerous studies show that most individuals who have sleep problems never receive a diagnosis or treatment. That being said, if you are reading this blog article, you are unlikely to be one of those people. If you are a patient looking for a sleep doctor it may be difficult to locate a qualified sleep medicine specialist who can help. If you are need help finding Long Island sleep doctors you are in luck!
What sleep doctors do
Usually, we specialize in diagnosing and treating individuals who are too sleepy or who can’t sleep (insomnia). Otherwise, individuals may have something wrong with how they sleep. Many people (or their partners) complain of snoring. I spend a lot of time treating patients with sleep apnea. Complaints of behavior during sleep like walking, talking, screaming, moving, or jerking are also relatively common. Other people complain of restless legs syndrome (RLS) or bruxism (grinding your teeth at night). These are all problems that sleep doctors can help to treat. There is a page on this website which discusses some common sleep disorders, other than sleep apnea.
How to find a sleep medicine physician in Long Island or anywhere else
Google is a great tool. Just search “Long Island Sleep Doctor” (substitute your location if your not from “Long Island”). The only problem is that Google may locate a sleep center without finding an actual sleep doctor. I have provided a short list of some of the Long Island Sleep Doctors whom I know (other than myself) who run some of the sleep medicine fellowships on Long Island. I have also provided my link below. That is not to say that there aren’t other great Long Island Sleep Doctors, only that these are the few that I am acquainted with who also run Sleep Medicine fellowships. If you know of some really awesome sleep medicine physicians in Long Island or elsewhere, please let us know so that we might make others aware of them.
Long Island Sleep Doctors
Michael Morgenstern, MD (that’s me)
Harly Greenberg, MD (my mentor)
Av Gold, MD (in Smithtown)
How to pick a sleep doctor
You want a doctor who specializes in sleep medicine, preferably one who has done a fellowship in sleep medicine. Try to find a doctor that will spend time with you to explain things so that you understand what’s happening. This is probably true of any doctor you are looking to find. A knowledgeable doctor that can spend time with you will translate into better care. I would proceed with caution if the doctor you are going to has a “sleep center” but isn’t trained in sleep medicine. How can they oversee quality without any training? I would also proceed with caution going to a “sleep center” that doesn’t have a doctor working at the center that can follow up with you after the study. The doctor should be closely connected to the sleep center–not just “affiliated” with it. This is important so that the doctor you see has access to the raw data of sleep study results or goes through the sleep study themselves (not just the report of the study) before seeing you in the office. Sometimes, that doesn’t happen. It might not be a problem. But it could be a problem. I just advise asking questions to ensure you are getting the right level of care. Following up with a doctor who is a sleep specialist like the Long Island sleep doctors I mentioned above, for conditions like sleep apnea, RLS insomnia is equally important. It will help ensure that you get the best care. That you sleep and feel better faster.
You may be interested in learning more about the following:
[P.S. I am going to try and provide a post shortly for other areas of New York, in case Long Island isn’t your neighborhood]