Sleep Disorders

Sleep disorders affect more than 70 million people in the United States. In fact, one-third of all adults experience insomnia, and two to four percent of middle-aged adults have significant breathing disorders during sleep. It is also estimated that two percent of children have sleep disorderred breathing.  Other less common sleep disorders include narcolepsy, nocturnal movement disorders, sleepwalking or other unusual nocturnal behaviors.

Sleep disorders impair sleep and wakefulness and can have a significant impact on your quality of life. If you suffer from a sleep disorder, you might:

  • Miss work or perform poorly at work due to fatigue
  • Experience memory and concentration problems and/or depression
  • Be habitually irritable and short-tempered
  • Experience sexual problems that strain your personal relationships
  • Endanger yourself or others by falling asleep while working or driving

If you have a sleep disorder, you or your sleeping partner may notice these symptoms:

  • Loud snoring
  • Feeling tired all the time
  • Difficulty falling and staying asleep
  • Waking up frequently at night
  • Jerking or twitching in your legs
  • Walking, punching or kicking in your sleep
  • Gasping or choking at night
  • Recurrent nightmares
  • Early morning awakenings
  • Morning headaches
  • Impotence

Common Sleep Disorders
There are more than 80 different disorders that can affect your sleeping and waking cycles.  
Among the most common are:

Sleep Apnea
If you have sleep apnea, you stop breathing during sleep for brief periods of time. This may happen several times a night and is often identified by loud snoring and/or choking or gasping as you try to resume breathing. While sleep apnea has traditionaly often been a source of humor, we now know just how serious the condition is.  Sleep apnea has been associated with strokesheart disease, hypertensiondiabetes, and an increased risk of motor vehicle accidents.


Insomnia is not a disease, but rather a symptom that can occur with many different illnesses or conditions. If you have insomnia, you probably have a feeling of poor sleep or difficulty getting to sleep.

Usually diagnosed in teenagers or people in their early 20s, narcolepsy can also appear later in life. It is characterized by an often overwhelming feeling of sleepiness and may be associated with other sleep disturbances.

Parasomnias are abnormal behaviors that occur while you sleep, such as sleep talking, night terrors, sleepwalking, bedwetting and teeth grinding.