Sleep Disorders: What You Need to Know

Getting the right amount of sleep is an essential part of a healthful life. Not getting the recommended amount of sleep at night, as it turns out, can inversely affect how a person functions throughout the day, one’s cognitive functions and decision making. In recent years, a blend of personalized technology (smart phones, tables, etc.) and personal habits (staying up late at night) have created a perfect storm, if you will, of non-conductive sleep environments. Indeed, in a “go-all-the-time” environment, getting the right amount of sleep remains under threat in our hyper-technologicalized world.

Technology and personal habits aside, sleep disorders actually come in six different types. An article published two years ago in the journal Sleep and Biological Rhythms, makes clear how sleep disorders can be a clinical problem and can manifest themselves as:

• Insomnia

• Sleep-related breathing disorders

• Sleep-related movement disorders

• Central disorders of hypersomnolence

So, if you may not be getting enough sleep, your lack of sleep may not be as simple as scrolling through your Facebook feed in bed before you go to sleep, but it may remain a symptom of a clinical sleep disorder, which can be included in one of the above categories.

The abovementioned study also notes that “[i]n an international survey carried out in France, Italy, Japan and the USA, the estimated prevalence of insomnia ranged between 6.6% and 37.2%.” The study also mentioned that “[t]he majority of individuals with sleep problems in that survey reported that their sleep problems had an impact on their daily quality of life either ‘somewhat’ or ‘a lot’.” So, as these numbers suggest, sleep disorders remain a somewhat common problem in the United States and elsewhere around the world.

Another problem that may cause individuals to lose sleep is work-related stress. In another study published in the International Journal of Stress Management in 2010, individuals reported that “poor quality of sleep, such as trouble falling asleep, frequent nightly waking, early awakening, and bedtime ruminations, are some of the most commonly reported symptoms in individuals with complaints of work-related stress.”

Moreover, the authors of the article went on to say: “Other frequently reported symptoms are cognitive failures in everyday tasks, for example, forgetting what one was doing, forgetting what to fetch, forgetting names and appointments, and similar problems related to deficiencies in attention and memory. In addition, complaints regarding reduced problem-solving and learning abilities are also frequent.”

Finally, if you or someone you know suffers from a sleep disorder, seek immediate help from a trained specialist. Interventions for dealing with sleep disorders range from medical treatment to cognitive behavioral therapy. Getting the right amount and quality of sleep remains an important part of living a healthful life.


Demir, A. U. et al. (2015). Prevalence of sleep disorders in a Turkish adult population epidemiology of sleep study. Sleep and Biological Rhythms, 13, 298 – 308.

Willert, M. et al. (2010). Sleep and cognitive failures improved by a three-month stress management intervention. International Journal of Stress Management, 193 – 213.