Get back to sleep when you wake up at night. Whether you have a sleep disorder or not, it’s normal to wake briefly during the night. If you’re having trouble getting back to sleep, try focusing on your breathing, meditating, or practicing another relaxation technique. Make a note of anything that’s worrying you and resolve to postpone worrying about it until the next day when it will be easier to resolve.
Narcolepsy is characterized by “sleep attacks” that occur during the day. This means that you will suddenly feel extremely tired and fall asleep without warning. The disorder can also cause sleep paralysis, which may make you physically unable to move right after waking up. Although narcolepsy may occur on its own, it is also associated with certain neurological disorders, such as multiple sclerosis.
Sleep apnea, obstructive sleep apnea, obstruction of the airway during sleep, causing lack of sufficient deep sleep, often accompanied by snoring. Other forms of sleep apnea are less common.[10] Obstructive sleep apnea (OSA) is a medical disorder that is caused by repetitive collapse of the upper airway (back of the throat) during sleep. For the purposes of sleep studies, episodes of full upper airway collapse for at least ten seconds are called apneas[11]
Sleep apnea is a common (and treatable) sleep disorder in which your breathing temporarily stops during sleep, awakening you frequently. If you have sleep apnea you may not remember these awakenings, but you’ll likely feel exhausted during the day, irritable and depressed, or see a decrease in your productivity. Sleep apnea is a serious and potentially life-threatening sleep disorder, so see a doctor right away and learn how to help yourself.
As suggested by its name, PLMD is an involuntary movement disorder. (An older name, nocturnal myoclonus , is rarely used anymore.) People with this problem experience sudden, involuntary leg movements during the night, such as kicking or jerking. The difference between this and restless leg syndrome is that, unless the kicking wakes you up, you don't know you're doing it. You don't experience the tingling and discomfort that leads you to consciously move your legs, as with restless leg syndrome. At least 80 percent of people with restless leg syndrome have PLMD, but the reverse isn't true.

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.[40] 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.[40]: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.


In people who have restless legs syndrome, discomfort in the legs and feet peaks during the evening and night. They feel an urge to move their legs and feet to get temporary relief, often with excessive, rhythmic, or cyclic leg movements during sleep. This can delay sleep onset and cause brief awakening during sleep. Restless legs syndrome is a common problem among middle-aged and older adults.

Delayed sleep phase disorder (DSPD), inability to awaken and fall asleep at socially acceptable times but no problem with sleep maintenance, a disorder of circadian rhythms. Other such disorders are advanced sleep phase disorder (ASPD), non-24-hour sleep–wake disorder (non-24) in the sighted or in the blind, and irregular sleep wake rhythm, all much less common than DSPD, as well as the situational shift work sleep disorder.[4]
According to one meta-analysis, the two most prevalent sleep disorders among children are confusional arousals and sleep walking.[57] An estimated 17.3% of kids between 3 and 13 years old experience confusional arousals.[57] About 17% of children sleep walk, with the disorder being more common among boys than girls.[57] The peak ages of sleep walking are from 8 to 12 years old.[57] A different systematic review offers a high range of prevalence rates of sleep bruxism for children. Between 15.29 and 38.6% of preschoolers grind their teeth at least one night a week. All but one of the included studies reports decreasing bruxist prevalence as age increased as well as a higher prevalence among boys than girls.[58]

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.

In addressing sleep disorders and possible solutions, there is often a lot of buzz surrounding melatonin. Research suggests that melatonin is useful in helping people to fall asleep faster (decreased sleep latency), to stay asleep longer, and to experience improved sleep quality. In order to test this, a study was conducted that compared subjects that had taken Melatonin to subjects that had taken a placebo pill in subjects with primary sleep disorders. Researchers assessed sleep onset latency, total minutes slept, and overall sleep quality in the Melatonin and placebo groups to note the differences. In the end, researchers found that melatonin decreased sleep onset latency, increased total sleep time, and improved quality of sleep significantly more than the placebo group.[49][50]
Obstructive sleep apnea (OSA) affects around 4% of men and 2% of women in the United States.[63] In general, this disorder is more prevalent among men. However, this difference tends to diminish with age. Women experience the highest risk for OSA during pregnancy.[64] Also, they tend to report experiencing depression and insomnia in conjunction with obstructive sleep apnea.[65] In a meta-analysis of the various Asian countries, India and China present the highest prevalence of the disorder. Specifically, about 13.7% of the Indian population and 7% of Hong-Kong's population is estimated to have OSA. The two groups experience daytime OSA symptoms such as difficulties concentrating, mood swings, or high blood pressure,[66] at similar rates (prevalence of 3.5% and 3.57%, respectively).[63]
Sleep apnea, obstructive sleep apnea, obstruction of the airway during sleep, causing lack of sufficient deep sleep, often accompanied by snoring. Other forms of sleep apnea are less common.[10] Obstructive sleep apnea (OSA) is a medical disorder that is caused by repetitive collapse of the upper airway (back of the throat) during sleep. For the purposes of sleep studies, episodes of full upper airway collapse for at least ten seconds are called apneas[11]
Although more research should be done to increase the reliability of this method of treatment, research suggests that music therapy can improve sleep quality in acute and chronic sleep disorders. In one particular study, participants (18 years or older) who had experienced acute or chronic sleep disorders were put in a randomly controlled trial and their sleep efficiency (overall time asleep) was observed. In order to assess sleep quality, researchers used subjective measures (i.e. questionnaires) and objective measures (i.e. polysomnography). The results of the study suggest that music therapy did improve sleep quality in subjects with acute or chronic sleep disorders, however only when tested subjectively. Although these results are not fully conclusive and more research should be conducted, it still provides evidence that music therapy can be an effective treatment for sleep disorders.[47]
In people who have restless legs syndrome, discomfort in the legs and feet peaks during the evening and night. They feel an urge to move their legs and feet to get temporary relief, often with excessive, rhythmic, or cyclic leg movements during sleep. This can delay sleep onset and cause brief awakening during sleep. Restless legs syndrome is a common problem among middle-aged and older adults.
The most common sleep disorder is insomnia.[2] 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.
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.[40] 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.[40]: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.
Stay cool at night. Make sure your bedroom is at the right temperature to help ensure a good night’s sleep. The National Sleep Foundation suggests setting the temperature between 60 and 67 degrees Fahrenheit for optimal sleep. Using cooling sheets and pillows can also help, especially for women in menopause who are experiencing hot flashes at night, says Dr. Alyssa Dweck, assistant clinical professor of obstetrics and gynecology at the Mount Sinai School of Medicine and co-author of “V is for Vagina.”
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