In spite of the fact that we spend around 1/3 of our life asleep, until recently there has been relatively little attention paid to disorders of sleep. Some 40 million Americans suffer from chronic disorders of sleep and wakefulness. Unfortunately, these often remain unidentified and undiagnosed by patients and physicians alike.
Disordered or abnormal sleep is often the cause of major medical problems such as heart disease, strokes and high blood pressure. Failure to achieve a normal restful night of sleep is often the cause of a great deal of misery for patients and their loved ones.
In addition to direct health risks, disordered or abnormal sleep may rob people of the joy of life, making each waking day a chore and a task. Sufferers may feel old before their time, and have a great deal of difficulty in just performing the usual tasks of daily living.
There are, in fact, more than 80 different sleep-related disorders recognized by the medical profession. These can cause symptoms ranging from excessive sleepiness during the day, to abnormal or even violent behaviors at night.
It is with this in mind that the University of Maryland has created a multidisciplinary, comprehensive sleep disorders center for the diagnosis and treatment of sleep disorders.