What are sleep disorders?
Sleep disorders are conditions that impair your sleep or prevent you from getting restful sleep and, as a result, can cause daytime sleepiness and other symptoms. Everyone can experience problems with sleep from time to time. However, you might have a sleep disorder if:
- You regularly experience difficulty sleeping.
- You are often tired during the day even though you slept for at least seven hours the night before.
- You have a reduced or impaired ability to perform regular daytime activities.
There are more than 100 million Americans of all ages who are not getting an adequate amount of sleep. Sleep is very important. Not getting enough sleep can have untoward consequences on school and work performance, interpersonal relationships, health and safety.
How many types of sleep disorders are there?
There are approximately 80 different types of sleep disorders. The top ones are:
- Sleep apnea.
- Restless legs syndrome.
What are the symptoms of sleep disorders?
You might have a sleep disorder if you experience one or more of the following symptoms. Do you:
- Fall asleep while driving?
- Struggle to stay awake when inactive, such as when watching television or reading?
- Have difficulty paying attention or concentrating at work, school, or home?
- Have performance problems at work or school?
- Often get told by others that you look sleepy?
- Have difficulty with your memory?
- Have slowed responses?
- Have difficulty controlling your emotions?
- Need to take naps almost every day?
How are sleep disorders treated?
There are a variety of treatments recommended by healthcare providers:
- Counseling: Some sleep specialists recommend cognitive behavior therapy. Such counseling helps you “recognize, challenge, and change stress-inducing thoughts” that can keep you awake at night.
- Medications and/or supplements.
- Practice sleep hygiene such as keeping a regular sleep schedule.
- Get regular exercise.
- Minimize noise.
- Minimize light.
- Manage the temperature so that you’re comfortable.
Your healthcare provider will recommend treatments based on your unique situation.