A number of sleep disorders can disrupt your sleep quality and make
you overly sleepy during the day, even if you spent enough time in
bed to be well rested.
More than 70 sleep disorders affect at least 40 million Americans and account for an estimated $16 billion in medical costs each year, not counting costs due to lost work time, car accidents, and other factors.
The four most common sleep disorders are insomnia, sleep apnea, restless legs syndrome, and narcolepsy. Additional sleep problems include chronic insuficient sleep, circadian rhythm abnormalities, and “parasomnias” such as sleep walking, sleep paralysis, and night terrors.
- Look over this list of common signs of a sleep disorder, and talk to your doctor if you have any of them on three or more nights a week:
- It takes you more than 30 minutes to fall asleep at night.
- You awaken frequently in the night and then have trouble falling back to sleep again.
- You awaken too early in the morning.
- You often don’t feel well rested despite spending 7–8 hours or more asleep at night.
- You feel sleepy during the day and fall asleep within 5 minutes if you have an opportunity to nap, or you fall asleep unexpectedly or at inappropriate times during the day.
- Your bed partner claims you snore loudly, snort, gasp, or make choking sounds while you sleep, or your partner notices that your breathing stops for short periods.
- You have creeping, tingling, or crawling feelings in your legs that are relieved by moving or massaging them, especially in the evening and when you try to fall asleep.
- 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.
- Your bed partner notes that your legs or arms jerk often during sleep.
- You regularly need to use stimulants to stay awake during the day.
Also keep in mind that, although children can show some of these signs of a sleep disorder, they often do not show signs of excessive daytime sleepiness. Instead, they may seem overactive and have dificulty focusing and concentrating. They also may not do their best in school.