A healthy sleep is important if one wants to be mentally, physically, and spiritually healthy. It promotes a positive mood, lowers the risk of heart disease, strengthens the immune system, combats obesity, and promotes a peaceful worldview.

Autism, schizophrenia, anxiety, major depression, and bipolar disorder, are all significantly associated with sleeping issues

As gauged by a doctor, one has a sleep-wake disorder if they are either not getting enough sleep or aren’t getting enough refreshing sleep. This sub-category is called dyssomnia, which is further broken down.

  • The most well-known, insomnia, is when one doesn’t get restful sleep, has trouble falling asleep, or has issues staying asleep for an appreciable amount of time
    • Every year, about a third of people experience symptoms of insomnia. Children suffer from enough of the symptoms to meet the diagnosis of insomnia at about that rate. Women are about twice as likely as men to complain of insomnia
    • People suffering from depression, substance abuse, and anxiety disorders, tend to sleep fewer hours than is healthy. Physical pain and lack of exercise are also culprits
    • Insomnia is known for creating symptoms of a plethora of other mental health disorders. It’s an essential. When the body doesn’t have its rest, it gets sick, the same as starving.
  • One may have hypersomnolence if they sleep longer than normal and/or take a lot of naps during the day
    • Unlike insomniacs, this population sleeps through the night
  • Narcolepsy is when someone endures bouts of involuntary sleep during daytime
    • There is a strong genetic component
    • One symptom, though not at all specific to narcolepsy, is excessive daytime sleepiness (EDS), chronic mental and physical fatigue
    • .03% to .16% of the population have this disorder
    • Some narcoleptics experience cataplexy: suddenly being thrown in REM sleep
    • It usually first appears when one is a teenager
  • Various breathing-related disorders wherein one doesn’t breath enough oxygen during the night, and which results in insomnia or fatigue
    • Older people suffer from them more often
    • Sleep-related hypoventilation: airflow is decreased, but does not entirely stop, resulting in increased carbon dioxide levels (a waste product of respiration)
    • Central sleep apnea: all of the respiratory system stops working briefly
      • Associated with head trauma and degenerative disorders
      • These people tend to wake up during the night
    • Obstructive sleep apnea is when airflow lessens, but the activity of the respiratory system doesn’t
      • This population usually doesn’t wake up at night
      • About 15% of the population have it
    • Those with this disorder oftentimes snore loudly and sweat heavily during the night, and wake up with a headache
    • Breath can stop for periods of up to 30 seconds
  • One has a circadian rhythm sleep-wake disorder if their sleep is disturbed because they can’t sync their sleep schedule with when their environment needs them to be awake, and, asleep
    • A circadian rhythm is one’s normal sleep schedule
    • People who travel over three or more time zones must alter their circadian rhythm, as they experience jet lag
    • The shift work type must alter their circadian rhythm to deal with employment obligations
      • These people are also at increased risk of breast cancer, heart disease, and ulcers
    • Delayed sleep phase type and advanced sleep phase type is when sleep is significantly delayed, and when one goes to bed early and wakes up early, respectively
    • Irregular sleep-wake type is when one’s circadian rhythm varies significantly
    • Non-24-hour sleep-wake type is having a sleep cycle of more than 24 hours

One has a parasomnia if there is some abnormality (not normal issue) that goes on while they fall asleep, are asleep, or when just waking up.

  • Arousal disorders include experiencing intense fear while sleeping
    • Crying out: sleep terrors
      • Experienced by children much more than adults
      • Extreme fear
      • Not easily comforted
      • Not caused be dreams or nightmares
      • Also a symptom of narcolepsy
    • Sleepwalking
      • Very few people over 15 experience sleepwalking
    • Confusional arousals: awakening in a disoriented episode resembling drunkeness
  • Sleep-wake transition episodes 
    • Sleep-talking: either intelligible or not
    • Sleep starts: jerking awake while almost asleep
    • Nocturnal leg cramps: muscle cramps in at least one leg
    • Rhythmic movement disorders: repeated movements, causing one to rock back and forth
  • Parasomnias Associated with REM (rapid eye movement)
    • Nightmares
      • Anywhere from one in ten, to one in two, children suffer regularly from nightmares
      • As opposed to bad dreams, nightmares awaken the individual
    • Sleep paralysis: being unable to move for one to three minutes while awake
      • Also a symptom of narcolepsy
    • Sleep-related sinus arrest: the hearts of healthy young adults stop beating temporarily, for up to nine minutes
    • REM sleep behavior disorder: acting out one’s dreams due to a lack of paralysis
  • Miscellaneous parasomnias
    • Bed-wetting
    • Teeth-grinding
  • Substance-induced sleep disorders are due to intoxication or withdrawal from recreational drug use

Sources: Abnormal Psychology: An Integrative Approach, http://www.sleepdex.org/, http://psychcentral.com/disorders/category/sleep-wake-disorders/, http://www.end-your-sleep-deprivation.com, Abnormal Psychology: An Integrative Approach

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