Disorders of Sleep

  • William H. Moorcroft


There are three sleep disorders that are most common: sleep disordered breathing, narcolepsy, and insomnia. People who suffer from sleep disordered breathing, such as sleep apnea, do not breathe properly when sleeping which interferes with getting good sleep. Narcolepsy is characterized by sudden irresistible sleep attacks, sudden muscle weakness, feeling paralyzed upon awakening, and perceiving apparitions when falling asleep or waking up. Insomnia is difficulty falling asleep, staying asleep, and/or waking too early. Other less common problems include people who are always sleepy (idiopathic hypersomnia), those who have uncomfortable sensations in their legs that make it difficult to sleep (restless legs), or those who regularly jerk their legs or arms for part of the time while asleep (periodic limb movement disorder). The circadian clock may be out of phase with their environment or be malfunctioning for some people (circadian rhythm sleep disorders), while others may act out some of their violent dreams while still asleep (REM behavior disorder) or eat while still asleep (sleep-related eating disorder). Children are vulnerable to Sudden Infant Death Syndrome and behavioral insomnia of childhood.


Obstructive Sleep Apnea Sleep Apnea Sleep Disorder Sudden Infant Death Syndrome Excessive Daytime Sleepiness 
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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media New York 2013

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Northern Colorado Sleep ConsultantsFort CollinsUSA
  2. 2.Emeritus Professor Sleep and Dreaming Laboratory and Psychology DepartmentLuther College DecorahDecorahUSA

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