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What Are Some Sleep Disorders

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Behavioral Insomnia Of Childhood

Identifying and Treating Common Sleep Disorders

Behavioral insomnia of childhood is characterized by a learned inability to fall and/or stay asleep the estimated prevalence is 10% to 30%.12,24 The condition is divided into the sleep-onset association type and the limit-setting type. The sleep-onset association type is characterized by the child’s inability or unwillingness to fall asleep or return to sleep in the absence of specific conditions, such as a parent rocking the child to sleep.12 The limit-setting type occurs when parents fail to set appropriate limits, such as when the parents allow the child to sleep in their bed when the child refuses to sleep.12 Most children with behavioral insomnia of childhood have features of both types.

Treatments for Behavioral Insomnia of Childhood

Parental education

Adapted with permission from Mindell JA, Kuhn B, Lewin DS, Meltzer LJ, Sadeh A American Academy of Sleep Medicine. Behavioral treatment of bedtime problems and night wakings in infants and young children . Sleep. 2006 29:1279.

Treatments for Behavioral Insomnia of Childhood

Parental education

Adapted with permission from Mindell JA, Kuhn B, Lewin DS, Meltzer LJ, Sadeh A American Academy of Sleep Medicine. Behavioral treatment of bedtime problems and night wakings in infants and young children . Sleep. 2006 29:1279.

Shift Work Sleep Disorder

Those who work in shifts will understandably find that their circadian rhythm is disrupted. Shift patterns can vary and rotate, including early morning shifts and night shifts. This can confuse our internal clock and make it difficult to get the amount of sleep we need.

Shift workers may experience trouble sleeping during the day if they are on night shift for example, because our body clock is regulated to stay awake when its light outside. They may find that they are sleeping longer hours when theyre not working to try to catch up on sleep. Some shift workers experience microsleeps, meaning they fall asleep for a few seconds and wake up again quickly when theyre at work.

Easy Steps For Better Sleep

The relationship between sleep and depression is complex, but your sleep hygiene or good sleep habits can make a huge difference between a good nights sleep and another night of poor sleep. Whether youre experiencing a mood disorder or not, consider giving some of these simple changes a try tonight if youre hoping to get a better nights rest.

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Children And Young Adults

According to one meta-analysis of sleep disorders in children, confusional arousals and sleepwalking are the two most common sleep disorders among children. An estimated 17.3% of kids between 3 and 13 years old experience confusional arousals. About 17% of children sleepwalk, with the disorder being more common among boys than girls, the peak ages of sleepwalking are from 8 to 12 years old.

A different systematic review offers a high range of prevalence rates of sleep bruxism for children. Parasomnias like sleepwalking and talking typically occur during the first part of an individual’s sleep cycle, the first slow wave of sleep During the first slow wave of sleep period of the sleep cycle the mind and body slow down causing one to feel drowsy and relaxed. At this stage it is the easiest to wake up, therefore many children do not remember what happened during this time.

Nightmares are also considered a parasomnia among children, who typically remember what took place during the nightmare. However, nightmares only occur during the last stage of sleep – Rapid Eye Movement sleep. REM is the deepest stage of sleep, it is named for the host of neurological and physiological responses an individual can display during this period of the sleep cycle which are similar to being awake.

What Questions Should I Ask My Healthcare Provider About Sleep Disorders

Sleep Disorders in Children
  • What kind of sleep disorder do I have?
  • How severe is my sleep disorder?
  • Do you think my sleep disorder will go away on its own, or will I need treatment?
  • How can I improve my sleep hygiene?
  • Should I see a specialist?
  • Do I need a referral to see a specialist?
  • Do you recommend any medications to help with my sleep disorder?
  • How often should I return to see you?
  • Are there medicines I should take?
  • Are there medicines I should stop taking?

A note from Cleveland Clinic

Sleep disorders may not be deadly, but they affect your quality of life so often and so severely that they can disrupt your thinking, weight, school/work performance, mental health and your general physical health. Common ones like narcolepsy, insomnia, restless legs syndrome and sleep apnea prevent you from getting the long, deep sleep you need to function at your best.

If youre struggling with your sleep, dont hesitate to see your healthcare provider. Your health, and therefore your quality of life, depends on good sleep. Practice good sleep hygiene and follow your healthcare providers instructions.

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You Have Another Medicial Condition That Keeps You Up Or Without Energy

The sign: You suffer from another chronic health condition or experience mysterious symptoms that keep you awake.It makes sense that people dealing with other health issues, such as depression, illness or chronic pain would have a harder time sleeping peacefully. And some conditions, such as restless legs syndrome, exhibit their worst symptoms at night. Because these problems can perpetuate each other, it’s important not to take your sleep difficulties for granted and to talk to your doctor.

What Causes Sleep Paralysis

The exact cause of sleep paralysis is unknown. Studies have examined data to see what is associated with a higher risk of sleep paralysis and have found mixed results. Based on that research, researchers believe that multiple factors are involved in provoking sleep paralysis.

Sleep disorders and other sleeping problems have shown some of the strongest correlations with isolated sleep paralysis. Higher rates of sleep paralysis â38% in one studyâ are reported by people with obstructive sleep apnea , a sleep disorder of repeated lapses in breathing. Sleep paralysis also has been found to be more common in people with nighttime leg cramps.

Insomnia symptoms like having a hard time falling asleep and excessive daytime sleepiness have been found to be associated with sleep paralysis. People whose circadian rhythms are not aligned with their local day-night cycle, such as people with jet lag and shift workers, may also be at higher risk of sleep paralysis.

Certain mental health conditions have shown a connection with sleep paralysis. People with anxiety disorders, including panic disorder, appear to be more likely to experience the condition. Some of the strongest associations are in people with post-traumatic stress disorder and others who have had exposure to childhood sexual abuse or other types of physical and emotional distress. Stopping alcohol or antidepressants can also lead to REM rebound, which may cause sleep paralysis too.

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What Are Sleep Disorders

Sleep disorders are conditions that impair your sleep or prevent you from getting restful sleep and, as a result, can cause daytime sleepiness and other symptoms. Everyone can experience problems with sleep from time to time. However, you might have a sleep disorder if:

  • You regularly experience difficulty sleeping.
  • You are often tired during the day even though you slept for at least seven hours the night before.
  • You have a reduced or impaired ability to perform regular daytime activities.

There are more than 100 million Americans of all ages who are not getting an adequate amount of sleep. Sleep is very important. Not getting enough sleep can have untoward consequences on school and work performance, interpersonal relationships, health and safety.

Why Do Teens Have Trouble Sleeping

Sleep Disorders & Treatments

Most teens should get 8 to 10 hours of sleep a night. You don’t need to be a math whiz to figure out that if you wake up for school at 6 a.m., you’d have to go to bed at 10 p.m. to get enough sleep. But many teens have trouble falling asleep that early because their brains naturally work on later schedules.

During the teen years, the body’s internal sleep clock is reset to fall asleep later at night and wake up later in the morning. This change happens because teen brains make the sleep hormone melatonin later at night than kids and adults brains do. So, teens have a harder time falling asleep. Sometimes this delay in the sleepwake cycle is so severe that it affects a person’s daily activities. In those cases it’s called delayed sleep phase syndrome or “night owl” syndrome.

This isn’t the only reason teens lose sleep, though. Bright lights and the blue light from electronic devices also delay the release of melatonin, making it even harder to sleep.

Lots of people have insomnia trouble falling asleep or staying asleep. All sorts of things can make it hard to sleep, including:

  • feeling uncomfortable or sick
  • uncomfortable sleeping environment
  • stress or anxiety, like worrying about school, relationships, or problems at home
  • mental health problems, such as depression or post-traumatic stress disorder
  • some medical problems
  • some medicines
  • poor sleep habits

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What Other Sleep Problems Can Teens Have

Periodic Limb Movement Disorder or Restless Legs Syndrome

Some teens might have:

  • periodic limb movement disorder: leg and arm twitches or jerks at night
  • restless legs syndrome: the urge to move their legs, mostly at night. They may feel tingling, itching, cramping, or burning.

These disorders can make teens have trouble falling asleep and be restless through the night. During the day, they feel tired, cranky, and may have attention or behavior problems. Some teens might have both disorders.

Obstructive Sleep Apnea

Obstructive sleep apnea is when a person stops breathing briefly during sleep. Someone who has it might snore, have noisy breathing, toss and turn, and sweat heavily at night. Because they miss out on restful sleep, they usually feel very sleepy during the day and may fall asleep in classes or take naps.

Obstructive sleep apnea happens when something blocks the airway . People who are overweight also are more likely to have apnea. If its not treated, it can lead to learning, attention, behavior, and heart problems.


Most teens have nightmares once in a while. Nightmares can wake someone up during the night and make it hard to fall back to sleep. The most common triggers for frequent nightmares are stress or anxiety. Other things that can trigger them include illness, some medicines, using drugs or alcohol, and not getting enough sleep.



Tips For Better Sleep

  • Keep a regular sleep schedule go to bed at the same time and get up at the same time.
  • Choose your bedtime based on when you want to get up. Plan to spend seven to eight hours a night in bed.
  • Make a bedtime routine for example, snack, bath, tooth-brushing, toileting and follow it every evening.
  • Spend time outdoors and exercise every day, in the morning if possible. Avoid exercise after 8:00 p.m.
  • If you cant get outdoors, consider light therapy sitting or working near a light therapy box, available at drug stores and department stores.
  • If you nap, try to do so at the same time every day, for no more than an hour, and not after 3:00 p.m.
  • Sleep in a cool dark place and use the bed only for sleeping and sexual activity.
  • Do not read or watch television in bed.
  • Use satin sheets and pajamas to make moving in bed easier.
  • Minimize drinking liquids for three hours before bedtime to avoid frequent nighttime urination.
  • Go to the bathroom immediately before retiring.
  • Place a commode next to the bed, to minimize the effort, and light to get up during the night.
  • Avoid:
  • Alcohol, caffeine and other stimulants such as nicotine
  • Heavy late-night meals
  • Heavy exercise within six hours of bedtime
  • Thoughts or discussions before bedtime about topics that cause anxiety, anger or frustration
  • Clock watching
  • Screen time television, phones, tablets one or two hours before bed.

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Circadian Rhythm Sleep Disorders

We all have an internal biological clock that regulates our 24-hour sleep-wake cycle, also known as our circadian rhythms. Light is the primary cue that influences circadian rhythms. At night, when there is less light, your brain triggers the release of melatonin, a hormone that makes you sleepy. When the sun comes up in the morning, the brain tells the body that its time to wake up.

When your circadian rhythms are disrupted or thrown off, you may feel groggy, disoriented, and sleepy at inconvenient times. Circadian rhythms have been linked to a variety of sleeping problems and sleep disorders, as well as depression, bipolar disorder, and seasonal affective disorder .

What Are The Symptoms Of Sleep Disorders

Sleep Disorders

The symptoms of sleep disorders depend on the specific disorder. Some signs that you may have a sleep disorder include that:

  • You regularly take more than 30 minutes each night to fall asleep
  • You regularly wake up several times each night and then have trouble falling back to sleep, or you wake up too early in the morning
  • You often feel sleepy during the day, take frequent naps, or fall asleep at the wrong times during the day
  • Your bed partner says that when you sleep, you snore loudly, snort, gasp, make choking sounds, or stop breathing for short periods
  • You have creeping, tingling, or crawling feelings in your legs or arms that are relieved by moving or massaging them, especially in the evening and when trying to fall asleep
  • Your bed partner notices that your legs or arms jerk often during sleep
  • You have vivid, dreamlike experiences while falling asleep or dozing
  • You have episodes of sudden muscle weakness when you are angry or fearful, or when you laugh
  • You feel as though you cannot move when you first wake up

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Periodic Limb Movement Disorder

This is a movement disorder often linked to RLS that involves sudden and repetitive jerking or cramping of the legs, and sometimes even the arm during sleep. They can be rhythmic and occur between 20 and 40 seconds apart.What distinguishes this condition from RLS is that RLS can occur even when you’re still awake or trying to get sleep, whereas periodic limb movement disorder only occurs when you’re asleep. The most common PLMD symptoms are poor sleep and daytime sleepiness. Most patients with PLMD are often unaware of their body movements unless their partner tells them.

Nccih Research On Sleep Disorders

NCCIH funds research on complementary health approaches for sleep disorders.

More information

Recent projects include studies on:

  • How mindfulness meditation training may affect the amount and quality of sleep
  • The effect of blue-white light on sleep disorders in patients with Alzheimers disease
  • Whether acupuncture can help insomnia
  • How two forms of mindfulness-based therapy compare with behavior therapy for treating insomnia.

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What Is Restless Legs Syndrome

Restless legs syndrome is a sleep disorder that causes an intense, often irresistible urge to move the legs. This sensation is brought on by resting such as lying down in bed, sitting for prolonged periods such as while driving or at a theatre. RLS typically occurs in the evening, making it difficult to fall asleep and stay asleep. It can be associated with problems with daytime sleepiness, irritability and concentration. Often, people with RLS want to walk around and shake their legs to help relieve the uncomfortable sensation.

What Does Sleep Paralysis Feel Like

Sleep disorders and treatments

The fundamental symptom of sleep paralysis is atonia or the inability to move the body. It occurs shortly after falling asleep or waking up, and during an episode, a person feels awake and is aware of this loss of muscle control.

An estimated 75% of sleep paralysis episodes involve hallucinations that are distinct from typical dreams. As with atonia, these can occur when falling asleep or waking up .

Hallucinations during sleep paralysis fall into three categories:

  • Intruder hallucinations, which involve the perception of a dangerous person or presence in the room.
  • Chest pressure hallucinations, also called incubus hallucinations, that can incite a feeling of suffocation. These frequently occur along with intruder hallucinations.
  • Vestibular-motor hallucinations, which can include feelings of movement or out-of-body sensations.

Atonia is often distressing, and troubling hallucinations can make sleep paralysis episodes even more bothersome. For this reason, around 90% of episodes are associated with fear while only the minority have more pleasant or even blissful hallucinations. The perception of these episodes has been found to vary significantly based on a personâs cultural context.

Episodes can last from a few seconds to around 20 minutes, and the average length is between six and seven minutes. In most cases, episodes end on their own but occasionally are interrupted by another personâs touch or voice or by an intense effort to move that overcomes atonia.

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Whats The Bottom Line

What do we know about the usefulness of complementary approaches for sleep disorders?

  • Relaxation techniques can be helpful for insomnia.

  • Melatonin supplements may be helpful for sleep problems caused by shift work or jet lag. Melatonin may also be helpful for people with insomnia, but its effect is small.

  • The evidence for other complementary approaches is either inconsistent or too limited to draw conclusions about whether they are helpful for sleep disorders.

What do we know about the safety of complementary approaches for sleep disorders?

  • Relaxation techniques are generally considered safe.

  • Melatonin appears to be relatively safe for short-term use, but its long-term safety has not been established.

  • There are serious safety concerns about kava products and L-tryptophan supplements .

  • If you use a complementary approach for a sleep problem, tell your health care providers. They can do a better job caring for you if they know what youre using.

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