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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 22, 2017
Building Resilient Communities: Embracing Trauma-Informed Care

While many people are very resilient, people can experience difficulties in response to trauma, including nightmares, flashbacks, problems focusing, depression or anxiety. Trauma exposure can also result in physical health challenges such as sleep difficulties, headaches, stomachaches and fatigue. Children, teenagers, and young adults can be more vulnerable to the effects of trauma.

  • Jun 21, 2017
Relax, Take a Deep Breath

Most of us have probably heard, or made the suggestion to someone, to “relax, take a deep breath” as a way to help calm down and reduce stress or anxiety. Breathing techniques have long been used as part of traditional stress reduction practices and their use is supported by much research. Practices involving consciously controlling and focusing on your breathing can be powerful tools for relaxation, stress reduction and mental health.

  • Jun 05, 2017
Parental Involvement in Therapy Key to Helping Children with Disruptive Behavior Disorders

Most children are disruptive or defiant at times, but disruptive and conduct disorders involve more severe problems that last longer than normal occasional acting out behavior. New research identifies specific parent training as the most effective way to help children with these disorders.

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American Sleep Association

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

35-yo-Male.jpg

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. more

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Editor's Choice

MAY 23, 2017

Sleep disorders affect men and women differently

Science Daily

A new study suggests that men and women are affected differently by sleep disorders. Results show that women are more likely than men to have more severe symptoms of depression, trouble sleeping at night, and excessive daytime sleepiness. Women also have a greater difficulty concentrating and remembering things due to sleepiness or tiredness. In contrast, male snoring was more likely than female snoring to force bed partners to sleep in different rooms.

MAY 22, 2017

Research finds high prevalence of undiagnosed sleep disorders among African Americans

News-Medical.net

African Americans with sleep apnea and insomnia are rarely diagnosed with either problem, even when the severity of the two sleep disorders are likely to affect their health, according to new research presented at the American Thoracic Society 2017 International Conference.

MAY 24, 2017

Treating Sleep Problems May Ease Depression

MedPage Today

Treating sleep disorders may improve depressive symptoms. In a retrospective study, positive airway pressure (PAP) therapy was associated with significantly improved scores on the Patient Health Questionnaire-2 (PHQ-2) over 6 months (mean decline -0.4, P<0.0001), Sachin Relia, MD, of the University of Tennessee Health Science Center in Memphis, and colleagues reported during a poster session at the American Psychiatric Association meeting here.