Sleep Disorders

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A comprehensive assessment for insomnia or other sleep problems may involve a patient history, a physical exam, a sleep diary and clinical testing a sleep study. A sleep diary is a record of your sleep habits to discuss with your physician. It includes information such as when you go to bed, get to sleep, wake up, get out of bed, take naps, exercise and consume alcohol and caffeinated beverages.

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Sleep problems can occur at any age but most commonly start in young adulthood. The type of insomnia problems often vary with age. Problems getting to sleep are more common among young adults. Problems staying asleep are more common among middle-age and older adults. Sleep problems can often be improved with regular sleep habits.

See list of healthy sleep tips below. If your sleep problems persist or if they interfere with how you feel or function during the day, you should seek evaluation and treatment by a physician.

Sleep disorders should be addressed specifically regardless of mental or other medical problems that may be present. Chronic insomnia is typically treated with a combination of sleep medications and behavioral techniques, such as cognitive behavior therapy. Several types of medications can be used to treat insomnia and help you fall asleep or stay asleep.

Most of these can become habit-forming and should only be used for short periods under the care of a doctor. Some antidepressants are also used to treat insomnia. Most over-the-counter sleep medicines contain antihistamines, which are commonly used to treat allergies. They are not addictive, but they can become less effective over time. Many people turn to complementary health approaches to help with sleep problems. According to the National Institutes of Health some may be safe and effective, others lack evidence about effectiveness. Some raise safety concerns.

There are safety concerns about some, including L-tryptophan and Kava.

Let your health care provider know about any alternative medicines or supplements you are taking. Obstructive sleep apnea involves breathing interruptions during sleep. This interrupted sleep causes daytime sleepiness and fatigue. Sleep apnea is diagnosed with a clinical sleep study. The sleep study polysomnography involves monitoring the number of obstructive apneas absence of airflow or hypopneas reduction in airflow during sleep. Sleep apnea affects an estimated 2 to 15 percent of middle-age adults and more than 20 percent of older adults.

Lifestyle changes, such as losing weight if needed or sleeping on your side, can improve sleep apnea. In some cases a custom-fit plastic mouthpiece can help keep airways open during sleep. The mouthpiece can be made by a dentist or orthodontist. For moderate to severe sleep apnea, a doctor can prescribe a CPAP continuous positive airway pressure device. The CPAP works to keep airways open by gently blowing air through a tube and face mask covering your mouth and nose.

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Clinical Practice Guidelines for Sleep Disorders

View More. I Accept. Sleep Problems Quality of sleep Timing of sleep Amount of sleep Sleep difficulties are linked to both physical and emotional problems. There are two types of sleep that generally occur in a pattern of three-to-five cycles per night: Rapid eye movement REM — when most dreaming occurs Non-REM — has three phases, including the deepest sleep When you sleep is also important. Insomnia Disorder Insomnia, the most common sleep disorder, involves problems getting to sleep or staying asleep. Symptoms of insomnia can be Episodic with an episode of symptoms lasting one to three months Persistent with symptoms lasting three months or more Recurrent with two or more episodes within a year Symptoms of insomnia can also be brought on by a specific life event or situation.

Treatment and Self-help Sleep problems can often be improved with regular sleep habits. Relaxation techniques , used before bedtime, can be helpful for insomnia. Yoga can be particularly effective at reducing anxiety and stress. Prioritize your to-do list. Spend your time and energy on the tasks that are truly important, and break up large projects into smaller, more easily managed tasks. Delegate when you can.

Play music. Soft, calming music can lower your blood pressure and relax your mind and body. Get an adequate amount of sleep. Sleeping recharges your brain and improves your focus, concentration, and mood. Direct stress and anxiety elsewhere. Lend a hand to a relative or neighbor, or volunteer in your community.

Helping others will take your mind off of your own anxiety and fears. Talk to someone. Let friends and family know how they can help, and consider seeing a doctor or therapist. Block out seven to nine hours for a full night of uninterrupted sleep, and try to wake up at the same time every day, including weekends.

Establish a regular, relaxing bedtime routine. Avoid stimulants like coffee, chocolate, and nicotine before going to sleep, and never watch TV, use the computer, or pay bills before going to bed.

Common Sleep Disorders

Read a book, listen to soft music, or meditate instead. Make sure your bedroom is cool, dark, and quiet. Consider using a fan to drown out excess noise, and make sure your mattress and pillows are comfortable.

From insomnia to sleep terrors, here are the most common impediments to nightly rest.

Use your bedroom as a bedroom — not for watching TV or doing work — and get into bed only when you are tired. Regular exercise will help you sleep better, but limit your workouts to mornings and afternoons. Avoid looking at the clock. This can make you anxious in the middle of the night. Turn the clock away from you. Talk to your doctor if you still have problems falling asleep.

You may need a prescription or herbal sleep remedy. Get Help Find a Therapist who treats anxiety disorders. FAQs Do I have an anxiety disorder? How do I find the right health professional? Translate This Page. Follow Us.


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Founded in , ADAA is an international nonprofit organization dedicated to the prevention, treatment, and cure of anxiety, depression, OCD, PTSD, and co-occurring disorders through education, practice, and research.

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