Sleep disorders involve any difficulties related to sleeping, including difficulty falling or staying asleep, falling asleep at inappropriate times, excessive total sleep time, or abnormal behaviors associated with sleep.
More than 100 different disorders of sleeping and waking have been identified. They can be grouped in four main categories:
PROBLEMS WITH FALLING AND STAYING ASLEEP
Insomnia includes any combination of difficulty with falling asleep, staying asleep, intermittent wakefulness and early-morning awakening. Episodes may come and go (be transient), last as long as 2 to 3 weeks (be short-term), or be long-lasting (chronic).
Common factors associated with insomnia include:
PROBLEMS WITH STAYING AWAKE
Disorders of excessive sleepiness are called hypersomnias. These include:
PROBLEMS STICKING TO A REGULAR SLEEP SCHEDULE
Problems may also occur when you do not maintain a consistent sleep and wake schedule. This occurs when traveling between times zones and with shift workers on rotating schedules, particularly nighttime workers.
Sleep disruption disorders include:
Abnormal behaviors during sleep are called parasomnias and are fairly common in children. They include:
The symptoms vary and depend on the specific sleep disorder.
Tests vary and depend on the specific sleep disorder. A sleep study (polysomnography) may be done.
Treatments vary and depend on the specific sleep disorder.
The outcome varies with the type of disorder. Some disorders may go away without treatment.
Call for an appointment with your health care provider if lack of sleep, too much sleep, or unusual sleep behaviors are interfering with daily living.
Sleep apnea should be suspected in people who snore loudly, wake frequently to urinate at night, and wake up in the morning unrefreshed.
The following can help prevent many sleep disorders.
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