In order for a sleep problem to be diagnosed as a sleep disorder, symptoms typically must be frequent and long-lasting. Dr. Mansfield, can you tell us about the symptoms of some common sleep disorders?
Sure, Dr. Jerman. We all have trouble getting a good night's rest from time to time. The reasons for this can range from an overly busy schedule to drinking a caffeinated beverage with dinner to getting up with a baby or young child during the night. In most cases, sleep problems like this are not evidence of a sleep disorder.
However, insomnia is a sleep disorder in which an individual has trouble falling asleep or staying asleep, and the lack of satisfactory sleep causes significant distress or impairment in functioning during the day. Sleep difficulties for people with insomnia occur at least three times a week and persist for at least three months.
Another fairly common sleep disorder is nightmare disorder. A person with nightmare disorder has repeated occurrences of extended and well-remembered nightmares. Often these nightmares awaken the individual, and the person quickly becomes alert and even distressed. This can be a major sleep disturbance that causes difficulty with functioning during the day.