What Are Sleep Disorders?
Sleep disorders are conditions that impair a person’s quality and timing of sleep. As a result of poor sleep, people with these disorders experience distress and impaired functioning when they are awake. While everyone can have a restless night sometimes, sleep disorders signify a pattern of sleep issues that require intervention.
Sleep disorders often develop alongside other mental health conditions. For example, someone with an anxiety disorder may have trouble falling asleep, which can lead to a vicious cycle of worrying and poor sleep.
How Common Are Sleep Disorders?
Sleep disorders are exceedingly common. Some experts estimate that as many as 70 million adults in the United States live with a sleep disorder. The most common sleeping disorder is insomnia.
Types of Sleep Disorders
The DSM-5, which providers use to diagnose mental health conditions, identifies many different types of sleep disorders. Each of these conditions can be chronic, recurrent, or acute. They may also range in intensity from mild to severe.
Specific sleep disorders include:
- Arousal disorders
Sleep studies and other tests can help patients and their providers determine which type of sleeping disorder they have. This confirmation of diagnosis can help guide a personalized treatment plan.
Sleep Disorders FAQ
Sleep disorders are conditions that impair a person’s quality of sleep. People with these disorders usually have a pattern of sleep issues such as having trouble falling asleep that eventually require intervention.
The most common sleeping disorder is insomnia. People with insomnia can’t fall asleep, stay asleep or get enough restful sleep. Over time, this lack of sleep can lead to issues such as diabetes, hypertension, and weight gain.
There are many possible causes for sleep disorders including health issues, depression and anxiety, aging, side effects from medication, an erratic schedule, and the amount of caffeine and alcohol you drink.
Possibly. A recent study of over a million people identified certain genetic variants associated with insomnia, but the underlying causes of most sleep disorders are probably a combination of your genes and environment.
Sleepwalking is a type of sleep disorder that results in walking or performing other behaviors while still in a deep sleep. When confronted, sleepwalkers are usually minimally responsive or incoherent in their speech.