Health Topics

Sleep Disorders

Sleep Disorders

Overview of Sleep Disorders

Sleep disorders are on the rise. It is estimated that nearly 75 percent of adult Americans experience sleep disorder symptoms at least a few nights per week. At the same time, sleep disturbances in some form are seen in as many as 25 to 30 percent of infants and children. Millions of people of all ages suffer from a variety of sleep disorders including:

  • Sleep apnea
  • Restless legs syndrome
  • Insomnia.

These disorders frequently are misdiagnosed and untreated. Sleep loss impacts on all facets of life and virtually all organ systems.

There are over 80 different types of sleep disorders and many people have more than one sleep problem. Not getting the proper amount or good quality of sleep leads to more than just feeling tired. Sleepiness interferes with cognitive function, which can lead to learning disabilities in children, memory impairment in people of all ages, and even personality changes. Excessive daytime sleepiness is particularly common among young adults, the elderly and shift workers, and is becoming recognized as the cause of academic underachievement in school-aged children. Adults with daytime sleepiness actually have a high incidence of automobile and occupational accidents, and even job loss.

Common Symptoms of Sleep Disorders

  • Excessive daytime sleepiness
  • Daytime fatigue
  • Unrefreshing sleep
  • Snoring
  • Difficulty initiating or maintaining sleep
  • Cessation of breathing in sleep
  • Uncomfortable leg sensations/leg jerks in sleep
  • Irritability/Depressed mood
  • Sexual dysfunction
  • Unusual behaviors in sleep (i.e. night terrors, sleepwalking, nocturnal seizures)

Tips from the Cleveland Clinic Sleep Disorders Center

  • Establish a set routine for going to sleep, such as soaking in a hot bath, reading a book or listening to soothing music.
  • Redesign your bedroom to be a sleep-conducive environment that is dark, quiet, comfortable and cool.
  • Sleep on a comfortable mattress and pillow.
  • Avoid using the bedroom for working and entertainment. Remove computers and televisions from your sleeping environment.
  • Have your last meal or snack 2 to 3 hours before bedtime.
  • Exercise regularly. But, it is best to complete your workout at least a few hours before bedtime.
  • Avoid caffeine—coffee, tea, soft drinks, chocolate - for several hours before bedtime. Caffeine could be what’s keeping you awake.