Sleep-wake disorders refer to a group of medical conditions that affect the timing, quality, and/or quantity of sleep. These disorders can be broadly classified into two categories: sleep disorders that involve difficulty falling asleep, staying asleep, or waking up, and disorders that involve excessive sleepiness or sleep during inappropriate times.
Examples of sleep disorders that involve difficulty falling asleep, staying asleep, or waking up include:
Insomnia: Difficulty falling asleep or staying asleep, waking up too early, or feeling unrefreshed after sleep.
Sleep apnea: A breathing disorder that causes brief interruptions in breathing during sleep, leading to daytime sleepiness, fatigue, and other health problems.
Restless leg syndrome: A neurological disorder that causes an irresistible urge to move the legs, particularly at night.
Narcolepsy: A neurological disorder characterized by excessive daytime sleepiness and sudden attacks of sleep, often accompanied by hallucinations and temporary muscle paralysis.
Examples of sleep disorders that involve excessive sleepiness or sleep during inappropriate times include:
Idiopathic hypersomnia: A neurological disorder characterized by excessive daytime sleepiness despite getting adequate sleep at night.
Circadian rhythm disorders: Disorders that disrupt the normal 24-hour sleep-wake cycle, leading to sleepiness or difficulty sleeping at the wrong times of day.
Shift work sleep disorder: A sleep disorder that affects people who work non-traditional hours, such as night shifts or rotating shifts.
Kleine-Levin Syndrome: A rare neurological disorder characterized by excessive sleeping, eating, and unusual behavior during episodes that can last for days or weeks.
Sleep-wake disorders can significantly impact a person’s physical and mental health, leading to decreased productivity, accidents, and even serious health consequences if left untreated. Treatment options depend on the specific disorder and may include lifestyle changes, medication, and/or behavioral therapies.
Shervan K Shahhian