The first step toward recovery is identifying the type of sleep disorder. There are many types, usually falling into one of the following major categories:
A persistent inability to initiate or maintain sleep. Insomnia is associated with daytime fatigue and sleepiness, and most of its causes can be diagnosed and treated effectively.
A life-threatening disorder that causes you to stop breathing repeatedly during your sleep. In virtually all cases this condition can be evaluated and treated with remarkable results.
A lifelong disorder characterized by uncontrollable sleep attacks during the day and muscle weakness triggered by sudden emotional reactions like laughter or fear. Some narcolepsy patients experience vivid dream-like scenes or paralysis upon falling asleep or awakening. This condition can be significantly improved with education and medication.
Sleeping too much or at inappropriate times. Sleep apnea and narcolepsy are the chief causes of hypersomnia.
Problems such as nightmares, sleepwalking, sleep talking, abnormal movements, chest pain and bedwetting that occur only during sleep or are brought about by sleep. These are common in children and may worsen in adolescents and adults.
Disorders of the Sleep/Wake Schedule
Occurs when the opportunity to sleep does not coincide with the body's ability to stay awake and to sleep. This problem often occurs with patients who work rotating or shift schedules, suffer from jet lag, or have insufficient sleep syndrome. This disorder can become progressive and chronic.
An ongoing feeling of tiredness, malaise, sleepiness, boredom or depression. Chronic fatigue has various causes but can be associated with a sleep disorder.