A sleep disorder is a medical condition that affects the sleep patterns of a person or animal. Some disorders
are serious enough to interfere with normal physical, mental and emotional functioning. Millions of Americans
suffer from extremely severe sleep disorders that can distress their health if left untreated. In fact, ninety-five
percent of people suffering from this malady remain undiagnosed. So what treatments are available for these sleep
More than 100 different disorders of sleeping and waking have been identified and grouped in four main
Problems with falling and staying asleep.
Problems with staying awake.
Problems with adhering to a regular sleep schedule.
Insomnia includes any combination of difficulty with falling asleep, staying asleep, intermittent wakefulness
and early-morning awakening. Episodes may be transient, short-term, or chronic. Insomnia can have associated health
problems, such as anxiety disorders. The most common factors that contribute to insomnia include a poor sleeping
environment, caffeine, certain medications, illness, heavy smoking and daytime napping.
If you're having trouble staying awake or experience excessive daytime sleepiness, then you could be suffering
from hypersomnias. Hypersomnias include sleep apneas, narcolepsy and restless leg syndrome.
Sleep apnea can cause breathing to stop intermittently during sleep, resulting in the person being awakened
Narcolepsy is a condition of daytime sleep attacks despite adequate sleep at night. A person with narcolepsy may
suddenly fall asleep in any situation, without warning.
Restless leg syndrome is characterized by an uncomfortable sensation, usually in the legs, that occurs primarily
at night and when a person is relaxed. The uncomfortable sensation diminishes when the legs are moved.
People can begin suffering from sleep disorders while still in childhood. If your child regularly suffers from
nightmares, night terrors and bedwetting, then a sleep disorder clinic may be able to give you advice on how to
control the symptoms using medication or therapy.
Disorders can also occur when your regular sleep pattern is disrupted. This often occurs when traveling between
times zones and with shift workers on rotating schedules. To control the symptoms of these sleeping disorders, many
doctors recommend "sleep hygiene" practices like going to bed at the same time each night and avoiding napping and
vigorous activity before bedtime.
There are a number of ways to treat sleep disorders, but the first step should be seeing a doctor.
Sleep apnea can be treated through lifestyle changes, the administration of air under pressure through the nose,
Insomnias and disorders that make it difficult to stay awake can be treated with medication. However, sleeping
drugs should be used only when prescribed by a health care provider. Sleep disorder clinics often are able to help
people restore normal sleeping patterns through various techniques like hypnosis and talk therapy.
No matter which course of treatment you choose, your quality of life will definitely improve once you start
getting some quality shut eye.