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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

  • 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.

  • Nov 15, 2017
Effective Messages to Fight Stigma

Despite increasing public awareness and discussion about mental illness and substance use disorders, stigma is still a major barrier to many people seeking treatment. New research has identified communication strategies that are effective in reducing stigma and increasing public support for policies and programs benefitting people with behavioral health conditions.

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Mar
2018
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World Sleep Day 2018
  • Fri,  Mar  16

World Sleep Society

May
2018
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Find local support groups
  • Tue,  May  01 - Thur,  May  31
  • 10:15 AM - 10:15 AM

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

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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JAN 17, 2018

AASM's New “American Alliance for Healthy Sleep”

Sleep Review

The American Academy of Sleep Medicine (AASM) has formed a new patient-focused membership organization, the American Alliance for Healthy Sleep (AAHS), which is inviting both health care providers and patients with sleep disorders to become members.
Millions of Americans have a sleep disorder such as obstructive sleep apnea, insomnia, narcolepsy and restless legs syndrome. The AAHS was created to help improve their lives through advocacy, education and support.

JAN 216 2018

To-Do List Before Bedtime Prompts Better Sleep

WebMD/HealthDay News

It sounds counterintuitive, but researchers report that writing a to-do list just before you hit the pillow might send you off to sleep more quickly. The lab study included 57 university students who took five minutes before going to bed to either write down what they needed to do over the next few days, or to list the tasks they had completed during the previous few days. Those who made a to-do list fell asleep faster than those who listed tasks they had already completed, according to the Baylor University scientists.

DEC 26, 2017

Amber-Tinted Glasses Might Get You More Sleep

WebMD/HealthDay News

For the tech-obsessed who use their smartphones, laptops and tablets right before bedtime, a small new study suggests that inexpensive amber-tinted glasses might guarantee sound slumber. The glasses block the blue-wavelength light emitted from many hi-tech devices. That light suppresses the brain's production of melatonin, a hormone that regulates sleep and wake cycles.  But in the study, researchers found that adults diagnosed with insomnia got about 30 minutes more sleep when wearing wrap-around amber lenses for two hours before bedtime.