Both night terrors and sleepwalking arise during NREM sleep and occur most often in children between the ages of 3 and 5 years old. A night terror can be dramatic: Your child may wake up screaming, but unable to explain the fear. Sometimes children who have night terrors remember a frightening image, but often they remember nothing. Night terrors are often more frightening for parents than for their child. Sleepwalkers can perform a range of activities -- some potentially dangerous, like leaving the house -- while they continue to sleep.
The most common sleep disorder is insomnia. Others are sleep apnea, narcolepsy and hypersomnia (excessive sleepiness at inappropriate times), sleeping sickness (disruption of sleep cycle due to infection), sleepwalking, and night terrors. Management of sleep disturbances that are secondary to mental, medical, or substance abuse disorders should focus on the underlying conditions.
One factors that could explain this change in sleep architecture is a change in circadian rhythm, which regulates sleep. A disruption of the circadian rhythm would therefore generate sleep disturbances. Some studies show that people with AD have a delayed circadian rhythm, whereas in normal aging we will find an advanced circadian rhythm.
In Alzheimer's disease, in addition to cognitive decline and memory impairment, there is also significant sleep disturbances with a modified sleep architecture. The latter may consist in sleep fragmentation, a reduction in sleep duration, insomnia, an increase daytime naping, a decreased quantity og some sleep stages and a resemblance between some sleep stages (N1 and N2). More than 65% of people with Alzheimer's disease suffer from this type of sleep disturbance.
Neurodegenerative diseases have been often associated with sleep disorders, mainly when they are characterized by abnormal accumulation of alpha-synuclein, such as multiple system atrophy (MSA), Parkinson's disease (PD) and Lewy body disease (LBD). For instance, people diagnosed with PD have often presented different kinds of sleep concerns, commonly regard to insomnia (around 70% of the PD population), hypersomnia (more than 50% of the PD population), and REM sleep behavior disorder (RBD) - that may affect around 40% of the PD population and it is associated with increased motor symptoms. Importantly, RBD has been also highlighted as a strong precursor of developing dementia in PD patients over several years in prior, which seems to be a great opportunity for improving the treatments of the disease.
Recent studies, however, have shown that several factors can interrupt this neurogenesis. These include stress and prolonged sleep deprivation (more than one day). The sleep disturbances encountered in AD could therefore suppress neurogenesis and thus impairing hippocampal functions. This would therefore contribute to diminished memory performances and the progression of AD. And progression of AD would aggravate sleep disturbances. It is a second vicious circle.
A review of the evidence in 2012 concluded that current research is not rigorous enough to make recommendations around the use of acupuncture for insomnia. The pooled results of two trials on acupuncture showed a moderate likelihood that there may be some improvement to sleep quality for individuals with a diagnosis insomnia.:15 This form of treatment for sleep disorders is generally studied in adults, rather than children. Further research would be needed to study the effects of acupuncture on sleep disorders in children.
None of these general approaches is sufficient for all patients with sleep disorders. Rather, the choice of a specific treatment depends on the patient's diagnosis, medical and psychiatric history, and preferences, as well as the expertise of the treating clinician. Often, behavioral/psychotherapeutic and pharmacological approaches are not incompatible and can effectively be combined to maximize therapeutic benefits. Management of sleep disturbances that are secondary to mental, medical, or substance abuse disorders should focus on the underlying conditions.
^ Keckeis, Marietta; Lattova, Zuzana; Maurovich-Horvat, Eszter; Beitinger, Pierre A.; Birkmann, Steffen; Lauer, Christoph J.; Wetter, Thomas C.; Wilde-Frenz, Johanna; Pollmächer, Thomas (2010). Finkelstein, David (ed.). "Impaired Glucose Tolerance in Sleep Disorders". PLoS ONE. 5 (3): e9444. doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0009444. PMC 2830474. PMID 20209158.
Combining results from 17 studies on insomnia in China, a pooled prevalence of 15.0% is reported for the country. This is considerably lower than a series of Western countries (50.5% in Poland, 37.2% in France and Italy, 27.1% in USA). However, the result is consistent among other East Asian countries. Men and women residing in China experience insomnia at similar rates. A separate meta-analysis focusing on this sleeping disorder in the elderly mentions that those with more than one physical or psychiatric malady experience it at a 60% higher rate than those with one condition or less. It also notes a higher prevalence of insomnia in women over the age of 50 than their male counterparts.
The natural internal clock that controls our 24-hour cycle of sleep and waking, circadian rhythms are easily upset by changes in schedule, and they're greatly affected by light and darkness. Jet lag is the best known circadian rhythm disorder, but this sensitive inner clock can also be disrupted by changes in routine resulting in an erratic sleep schedule.