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Help With Sleep Disorders

Curated and updated for the community by APA

Sleep disorders involve problems with the quality, timing and amount of sleep, which cause problems with functioning and distress during the daytime. There are a number of different types of sleep disorders, of which insomnia is the most common. Other sleep disorders are narcolepsy, obstructive sleep apnea and restless leg syndrome.

See definition, symptoms, & treatment

  • Jun 07, 2018
Teens are Divided on the Impact of Social Media

Social media plays a big part in the lives of most teens, and that influence has the potential to be positive or negative. For example, some research has linked prolonged social media use with symptoms of depression, anxiety and low self-esteem. Social media may lessen face-to-face relationships or participation in meaningful activities or harm self-esteem. Other research, however, suggests social media may have a positive impact, for example through increased social support

  • Dec 12, 2017
Online Mental Health Screenings: A Potential First Step

Several organizations provide brief online screenings for depression, anxiety, PTSD and other mental health conditions. More than one million people took screenings through the Mental Health America site alone in 2016.

  • Nov 30, 2017
Direct-to-Consumer Advertising Linked to Changes in Medication Use Among People with Serious Mental Illness

People with serious mental illness exposed to direct-to-consumer advertising (DTCA) of medications are more likely to stop taking their medications than those not exposed to the advertising, according to new research published in Psychiatric Services in Advance.

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I’m considering talking with my doctor about medication to help me sleep, but I’m concerned about becoming dependent on medication. Is it safe to take over-the-counter sleep medications?

Learn more about lifestyle choices that will promote and not harm sleep, (See Treatment and Self Help) rather than taking medication for sleep. Over-the-counter medications for sleep generally contain antihistamines. These may leave you feeling drowsy and may interfere with memory and attention. More

Is there a specialist that I should see about sleep problems?

Sleep disorder specialists should be consulted in cases of significant daytime sleepiness, persistent insomnia and disturbed behavior during sleep. Referral to a sleep disorder specialist is also appropriate for evaluation of breathing-related sleep disorders. More

I generally sleep eight to eight-and-a-half hours each night, but I’m still very sleepy during the day. How can I figure out what is going on?

Persistent daytime sleepiness can be debilitating or even dangerous. Daytime sleepiness can be caused by a number of issues, including self-medication with either stimulants or depressants; inadequate sleep at night; breathing-related sleep disorders, such as obstructive sleep apnea, narcolepsy or cataplexy; or psychiatric illnesses like depression. Excessive daytime sleepiness should be evaluated by a sleep disorders specialist. More

A friend often has a glass or two of wine to help her get to sleep, is there any concern with doing that?

Wine and other alcoholic beverages may enable someone to fall asleep more quickly, but as the alcohol is metabolized, the sleeper may experience rebound insomnia during the middle of the night. Also, if the sleeper has sleep apnea or a tendency to sleep apnea, the use of alcohol and other depressants may worsen this condition. More

I have an infant and a toddler and my sleep is often interrupted. Is there anything I can do to get the best sleep possible, given the circumstances?

Pediatric sleep specialists have developed techniques that parents of infants and toddlers can use to promote better sleep and sleep habits in their children, thereby enabling tired parents themselves to have a better chance at restorative sleep. See infant sleep recommendations from the American Academy of Pediatrics. More

Charles Reynolds

About the Expert:

Charles F. Reynolds III, M.D.
UPMC Endowed Professor in Geriatric Psychiatry
Director of the Aging Institute of UPMC and University of Pittsburgh

Warren’s Story

Warren, a 30-year-old graduate student, saw a doctor to discuss his problems staying asleep. The trouble began four months prior when he started to wake up at 3 a.m. every morning, no matter when he went to bed, and he was unable to fall back to sleep. As a result he felt “out of it” during the day. This led him to feel more worried about how he was going to finish his thesis when he was unable to focus due to extreme fatigue.

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JULY 26, 2018

Researchers find new way to monitor sleep conditions and diagnose disorders

Penn State News

Patients suffering from sleep disorders could soon benefit from a new and faster way to diagnose and treat them, thanks to a new model proposed by an international team of researchers. The method utilizes deep learning to automatically classify a patient’s sleep stages.

JULY 20, 2018

Treating sleep disorders is crucial to child-development, doctors say

KOB4

Sleep problems in children can range from night terrors to insomnia, to something more dangerous like obstructive sleep apnea. Doctors say while adults with this condition tend to be sleepy, children with sleep apnea tend to be hyperactive. "Instead, what we see are kids who are so sleepy, they are just fighting to stay awake during the day stimulating themselves in whatever way they can," Dr. Cutchen said. She said recognizing these signs and symptoms early on is crucial to a child's development.

JULY 17, 2018

Neurology and Men's Health, Part 4: Sleep Disorders

Duke University Department of Neurology

In our final entry in our "Neurology and Men’s Health" series, sleep specialist Andrew Spector, MD, talks about how sleep disorders affect men’s health, and how men or women can recognize the signs of troubled sleep. He also discusses what can be done to help people with sleep disorders get a good night's rest.