The effects of sleep disorders can be so disruptive that you will likely want immediate relief. Unfortunately, long-term cases can take a bit more time to resolve. However, if you stick with your treatment plan and regularly communicate with your doctor, you can eventually find your way to better sleep. You may also want to visit the National Sleep Foundation website for additional resources to share with your doctor.
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.

Some of the biggest differences between the 2nd and 3rd editions are how the various sleep disorders were divided into categories. The 2005 edition used 3 broad categories to organize all of the sleep disorders under either dysommnias (disorders making getting to sleep or staying asleep difficult), parasomnias (disorders that intrude into the sleep process), and sleep disorders associated with a mental, neurologic, or other medical disorders (disorders whose symptoms are not primary unto themselves but caused by other conditions).
Narcolepsy is a brain disorder that causes excessive daytime sleepiness. There is sometimes a genetic component, but most patients have no family history of the problem. Though dramatic and uncontrolled "sleep attacks" have been the best-known feature of narcolepsy, in reality many patients do not have sleep attacks. Instead, they experience constant sleepiness during the day.
The effects of sleep disorders can be so disruptive that you will likely want immediate relief. Unfortunately, long-term cases can take a bit more time to resolve. However, if you stick with your treatment plan and regularly communicate with your doctor, you can eventually find your way to better sleep. You may also want to visit the National Sleep Foundation website for additional resources to share with your doctor.
Another systematic review noted 7-16% of young adults suffer from delayed sleep phase disorder. This disorder reaches peak prevalence when people are in their 20s.[57] Between 20 and 26% of adolescents report a sleep onset latency of >30 minutes. Also, 7-36% have difficulty initiating sleep.[59] Asian teens tend to have a higher prevalence of all of these adverse sleep outcomes than their North American and European counterparts.[59]
Delayed sleep phase disorder is a condition where your biological clock is significantly delayed. As a result, you go to sleep and wake up much later than other people. This is more than just a preference for staying up late or being a night owl, but rather a disorder that makes it difficult for you to keep normal hours—to make it to morning classes, get the kids to school on time, or keep a 9-to-5 job.
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]
According to one meta-analysis, the mean prevalence rate for North America and Western Europe is estimated to be 14.5±8.0%. Specifically in the United States, the prevalence of restless leg syndrome is estimated to be between 5 and 15.7% when using strict diagnostic criteria. RLS is over 35% more prevalent in American women than their male counterparts.[68]
A catch-all term for the inability to fall or stay asleep, sleeplessness is -- as sufferers know -- a very serious problem. It's sleeplessness whenever something, whether it's physical pain, anxiety, or an underlying condition, prevents you from falling asleep within a reasonable amount of time or staying asleep long enough to achieve a good night's sleep.
A systematic review states 7.6% of the general population experiences sleep paralysis at least once in their lifetime. Its prevalence among men is 15.9% while 18.9% of women experience it. When considering specific populations, 28.3% of students and 31.9% of psychiatric patients have experienced this phenomenon at least once in their lifetime. Of those psychiatric patients, 34.6% have panic disorder. Sleep paralysis in students is slightly more prevalent for those of Asian descent (39.9%) than other ethnicities (Hispanic: 34.5%, African descent: 31.4%, Caucasian 30.8%).[67]
Insomnias This type of sleep disorder involves the inability to fall asleep or stay asleep. MORE>>Hypersomnias Hypersomnias are a group of sleep disorders that causes a person to be excessively sleepy. People with a hypersomnia may fall asleep at times that are inconvenient or even dangerous, such as at work or while driving. MORE>>Sleep Related Breathing Disorders Sleep disorders that involve difficulty breathing during sleep are classified as sleep related breathing disorders. Obstructive sleep apnea is the most common disorder of this type, however there are a number of variations of sleep apnea. MORE>>Circadian Rhythm Sleep-Wake Disorders Conditions in which the sleep times are out of alignment. A patient with one of these disorders does not follow the normal sleep times at night. MORE>>Parasomnias Parasomnias are a group of sleep disorders that involve unwanted events or experiences that occur while you are falling asleep, sleeping or waking up. MORE>>Sleep Movement Disorders This classification of sleep disorders includes conditions that cause movement during or prior to sleep. These disorders can make it difficult to fall asleep or stay asleep, or to get restful sleep. MORE>>

What to do: See a doctor, who will likely first check you for underlying conditions related to PLMD. Diabetes, thyroid disorders, anemia, and a number of other conditions can cause PLMD. If you do have another condition, the doctor will treat it and see if the PLMD goes away. The next step is to control the involuntary movements with medication. Drugs that suppress muscle contractions work well for preventing PLMD. The doctor may also prescribe medication to help you sleep more deeply, with the idea of preventing the involuntary movements from keeping you in light sleep.


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.
Even if you’ve struggled with sleep problems for so long that it seems normal, you can still learn to sleep better. You can start by tracking your symptoms and sleep patterns, and then making healthy changes to your daytime habits and bedtime routine. If self-help doesn’t do the trick, you can turn to sleep specialists who are trained in sleep medicine. Together, you can identify the underlying causes of your sleeping problem and find ways to improve your sleep and quality of life.
What to do: Ask your doctor if your restless leg syndrome might be caused by another health condition or by a medication you're taking. Diabetes, arthritis, peripheral neuropathy, anemia, vitamin B deficiency, thyroid disease, and kidney problems can all contribute to restless leg syndrome. Medications that can cause restless leg syndrome as a side effect include antidepressants, antihistamines, and lithium. Treating the underlying condition or changing medications may banish the symptoms. Restless leg syndrome has been linked to deficiencies in iron and B vitamins, particularly folate, so talk to your doctor about boosting your intake of these nutrients.
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