Frequently having trouble sleeping can be a frustrating and debilitating experience. You sleep badly at night, which leaves you feeling dead-tired in the morning and whatever energy you have quickly drains throughout the day. But then, no matter how exhausted you feel at night, you still have trouble sleeping. And so the cycle begins again, taking a serious toll on your mood, energy, efficiency, and ability to handle stress. Ignoring sleep problems and disorders can damage your physical health and lead to weight gain, car accidents, impaired job performance, memory problems, and strained relationships. If you want to feel your best, stay healthy, and perform up to your potential, quality sleep is a necessity, not a luxury.
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]
The decrease in the quantity and quality of the NREM SWS as well as the disturbances of sleep will therefore increase the AB plaques.[29][30] This will first take place at the hippocampus level, from which memory is dependent.[29][30] This will result in cell death at this level and will contribute to diminished memory performances and cognitive decline found in AD disease.[29]
A population susceptible to the development of sleep disorders is people who have experienced a traumatic brain injury (TBI). Because many researchers have focused on this issue, a systematic review was conducted to synthesize their findings. According to their results, TBI individuals are most disproportionately at risk for developing narcolepsy, obstructive sleep apnea, excessive daytime sleepiness, and insomnia.[20] The study's complete findings can be found in the table below:
At the same time, it has been shown that memory consolidation in long-term memory (which depends on the hippocampus) occurs during NREM sleep.[29][33] This indicates that a decrease in the NREM sleep will result in less consolidation and therefore poorer memory performances in hippocampal-dependent long-term memory.[29][33] This drop in performance is one of the central symptoms of AD.[29]  
Apnea means "no airflow." Obstructive sleep apnea was thought to be a disorder primarily of overweight, older men. But abnormal breathing during sleep can affect people of any age, any weight, and either sex. Researchers now know that in many cases of sleep apnea, the obstruction in the airways is only partial. Most people with sleep apnea have a smaller-than-normal inner throat and other subtle bone and soft-tissue differences.

Chronic sleep disorders in childhood, which affect some 70% of children with developmental or psychological disorders, are under-reported and under-treated. Sleep-phase disruption is also common among adolescents, whose school schedules are often incompatible with their natural circadian rhythm. Effective treatment begins with careful diagnosis using sleep diaries and perhaps sleep studies. Modifications in sleep hygiene may resolve the problem, but medical treatment is often warranted.[35]


A population susceptible to the development of sleep disorders is people who have experienced a traumatic brain injury (TBI). Because many researchers have focused on this issue, a systematic review was conducted to synthesize their findings. According to their results, TBI individuals are most disproportionately at risk for developing narcolepsy, obstructive sleep apnea, excessive daytime sleepiness, and insomnia.[20] The study's complete findings can be found in the table below:
Recent studies have also linked sleep disturbances, neurogenesis and AD.[29] Indeed, it is now known that neurogenesis exists and that the subgranular zone and the subventricular zone keep on creating new neurons even in an adult brain.[29][34] These new cells are then incorporated into neuronal circuits and interestingly, the supragranular zone is found in the hippocampus.[29][34] These new cells will contribute to learning and memory and will play a role in the hippocampal-dependent memory.[29]
This clock is a small part of the brain called the suprachiasmatic nucleus of the hypothalamus. It sits just above the nerves leaving the back of our eyes. Light and exercise "reset" the clock and can move it forward or backward. Abnormalities related to this clock are called circadian rhythm disorders ("circa" means "about," and "dies" means "day").
^ 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.
Fatigue during the first trimester of pregnancy is likely caused by changing levels of hormones, such as progesterone. Toward the end of pregnancy, some women find it difficult to sleep because of the uncomfortable size of their abdomen. Some women are too excited, anxious, or worried about becoming mothers to sleep well. Other women who are pregnant complain that vivid dreams prevent them from getting restful sleep. Sleep apnea, especially if it's severe and causes your blood oxygen level to drop during sleep, is a risk to the fetus.
Restless legs syndrome (RLS) is a sleep disorder that causes an almost irresistible urge to move your legs (or arms) at night. The urge to move occurs when you’re resting or lying down and is usually due to uncomfortable, tingly, aching, or creeping sensations. There are plenty of ways to help manage and relieve symptoms, though, including self-help remedies you can use at home.
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]
If you live in Alaska and think you may be suffering from one of the many sleep disorders listed above, you can take advantage of a free 10-minute phone consultation with the Alaska Sleep Clinic where one of our trained sleep specialists can help determine whether or not you need to have a sleep study to diagnose your condition. To get this free offer click on the link below.
Restless legs syndrome (RLS) is a sleep disorder that causes an almost irresistible urge to move your legs (or arms) at night. The urge to move occurs when you’re resting or lying down and is usually due to uncomfortable, tingly, aching, or creeping sensations. There are plenty of ways to help manage and relieve symptoms, though, including self-help remedies you can use at home.
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.
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.
In addition, an evidence-based synopses suggests that the sleep disorder, idiopathic REM sleep behavior disorder (iRBD), may have a hereditary component to it. A total of 632 participants, half with iRBD and half without, completed self-report questionnaires. The results of the study suggest that people with iRBD are more likely to report having a first-degree relative with the same sleep disorder than people of the same age and sex that do not have the disorder.[19] More research needs to be conducted to gain further information about the hereditary nature of sleep disorders.
There are many possible causes of restless legs syndrome, including kidney failure, nerve disorders, vitamin and iron deficiencies, pregnancy, and some medications (such as antidepressants). Recent studies have shown a strong genetic link and researchers have been able to isolate a gene that may be responsible for at least 40% of all cases of the disorder.
Interestingly, the glymphatic cleanrance occurs during the NREM sleep, and more specifically the NREM SWS sleep.[29][30][32] As seen previously, it is a sleep stage that decreases in normal aging.[30] So there is less glymphatic clearance and an increase in AB burden that will form the AB plaques.[32][29][30] Therefor, in AD sleep disturbances will amplify this phenomenon.
Combining results from 17 studies on insomnia in China, a pooled prevalence of 15.0% is reported for the country.[60] This is considerably lower than a series of Western countries (50.5% in Poland, 37.2% in France and Italy, 27.1% in USA).[60] However, the result is consistent among other East Asian countries. Men and women residing in China experience insomnia at similar rates.[60] 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.[61]
In Alzheimer's disease, in addition to cognitive decline and memory impairment, there is also significant sleep disturbances with a modified sleep architecture.[30][29] 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).[29] More than 65% of people with Alzheimer's disease suffer from this type of sleep disturbance.[29]
^ Jump up to: a b c d e f g h i j k l m n o p q r s t u Walker, Matthew P.; Jagust, William J.; Winer, Joseph R.; Mander, Bryce A. (2016-08-01). "Sleep: A Novel Mechanistic Pathway, Biomarker, and Treatment Target in the Pathology of Alzheimer's Disease?". Trends in Neurosciences. 39 (8): 552–566. doi:10.1016/j.tins.2016.05.002. ISSN 0166-2236. PMID 27325209.
Due to rapidly increasing knowledge about sleep in the 20th century, including the discovery of REM sleep in the 1950s and circadian rhythm disorders in the 70s and 80s, the medical importance of sleep was recognized. The medical community began paying more attention than previously to primary sleep disorders, such as sleep apnea, as well as the role and quality of sleep in other conditions. By the 1970s in the US, clinics and laboratories devoted to the study of sleep and sleep disorders had been founded, and a need for standards arose.

What to do: If you suspect you have a circadian rhythm disorder, take steps to get your body onto a regular sleep schedule. Choose a bedtime and wake-up time that work for you, and follow the same routine each day, even on weekends. This can be tough for those who have to get up early during the week but like to stay up later on weekends, but do your best to craft a compromise between your work week and weekend habits. The important thing is to avoid the trap of sleeping from 10 p.m. to 6 a.m. during the week, then suddenly shifting to late nights and late mornings on the weekends. This will inevitably leave you with insomnia on Sunday night, which in turn sets you up to start the week exhausted on Monday morning.
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