Many sleep disorders are brain disorders that cause interruptions in sleep patterns. They prevent people from getting enough sleep. Most people require 7 to 10 hours of sleep per day. The brain regulates sleep and is the only organ known to require or benefit from sleep. Not getting enough sleep can affect quality of life. Untreated sleep disorders can also cause serious safety problems and medical issues.
Most sleep problems fall into one of these categories:
- Circadian rhythm disturbances: Sleep/wake patterns that do not follow a normal 24-hour rhythm
- Hypersomnia: Excessive sleepiness
- Insomnia: Difficulty getting to and staying asleep
- Narcolepsy: Usually includes sudden onset of sleep, sudden loss of muscle tone, and hallucinations when falling asleep or waking up
- Sleep apnea: Stopping breathing while sleeping
- Restless legs syndrome: Feelings of restlessness and abnormal sensations in the legs that typically occur in the evening when lying down and are improved by movement
- REM sleep behavior disorder: Involves acting out dreams during sleep, which can cause self-injury or injury to the bed partner
- Parasomnias: Sleepwalking and sleep terrors
More than 100 sleep disorders affect millions of Americans. Most can be treated or prevented. Yet many people never seek help. The first step is to talk to your physician about your symptoms. Restful sleep is important for your physical and mental health.
(Information provided by the American Academy of Neurology)