Sleep Disorders… More


Excessive daytime sleepiness, most common during adolescence due to rapid physical changes during puberty, increases the need for sleep. This can also be the result of one or a combination of sleep apnea, depression, insomnia, narcolepsy, sleep drunkenness, periodic limb movements, drug abuse, or other problems.


Difficulty getting to sleep or staying asleep, not feeling completely rested after a night’s sleep. Nearly 30 percent of all adults have had insomnia. 9 percent of adults have a serious or chronic problem. Insomnia is harmful to health, work and relationships, lifestyle and behavioral changes, such as eating less starchy foods, are helpful for treating insomnia.


Sudden, irresistible daytime sleep “attacks” that may last anywhere from a few minutes to a half hour or more. A person can fall asleep during a conversation and even driving.

Nightmare Disorder

Vivid recurrent nightmares that significantly disturb sleep. See Nightmares and Night Terrors for more.

Sleep Terror Disorders

The repeated occurrence of night terrors that significantly disturb sleep. See Nightmares and Night Terrors for more.

Nightmares and Night Terrors

Stage 4 sleep is usually the realm of night terrors. These episodes are quite different from ordinary nightmares. A nightmare can be just a bad dream that takes place during REM sleep. Frequent nightmares, as in one or more per week, are associated with higher levels of psychological distress. During night terrors a person suffers total panic attack which may be accompanied by hallucinations and frightening images lasting up to 20 minutes. A person wakes up drenched in sweat but only vaguely remembers the terror. This is more common with children, but 2 percent of adults suffer from nightmares or sleep terror disorder.

Periodic Limb Movement Syndrome

Muscle twitches, primarily affecting the limbs, that occur every 20 to 40 seconds and severely disturb sleep. Not to be confused with hypnic jerk, an occasional muscle jerk while entering light sleep.

REM Behavior Disorder

A failure of normal muscle or paralysis leading to violent actions during REM sleep.

Restless Leg Syndrome

The urge to move one’s legs to overcome sensations of tingling, aching or prickling.

Sleep Apnea

During sleep, a person snores loudly with short silences. Breathing stops for 20 seconds to 2 minutes or more until the person wakes up, gulps in air, gasps loudly or snorts, then settles back to sleep. This cycle can be repeated many times during the night.

Sleep Drunkenness

A slow transition to full consciousness after waking up, sometimes accompanied by irritable or aggressive behavior.

Sleep-Wake Schedule Disorder

A mismatch between the sleep-wake schedule demanded by a person’s rhythm, and that demanded by their environment, accompanied by feeling tired, irritable and stressed out during the day.

Sleepwalking Disorder

Repeated incidents of leaving bed and walking about while still fast asleep. An eerie, fascinating and dangerous disorder. Often sleepwalkers may walk through doors or windows and in front of automobile traffic. Their eyes are usually open but have a blank expression. Sleepwalking occurs during NREM Stage 3 and 4 deep sleep and explains why they are confused and remember little. If you find someone sleepwalking guide them back to the safety of their bed. It is not harmful if they awaken while in a state of sleepwalking.

Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS)

The sudden, unexpected death of a baby who was apparently healthy. SIDS rarely occurs after the first month of life, but at risk babies should be carefully watched during the first six months.

This report is not a diagnosis. We hope this information can guide you toward improving your life. Review our Knowledge Base or the links displayed on this page for similar and related topics.