The most common health condition associated with sleep is insomnia. Insomnia is difficulty falling asleep, staying asleep, or both. Sleep disturbances can be physiological in nature (for example, Restless Legs Syndrome) or psychological (for example, nightmares.)
Experts have estimated that about 25% of Americans develop some degree of insomnia in any given year. In 75% of cases, it passes without long-term damage to sleep habits.
Other common sleep disorders include:
Sleep medicine experts also recognize several less common sleep disorders. These include things like narcolepsy, nightmares and night terrors, and Rapid Eye Movement Behavior Disorder.
Many chronic sleep conditions arise with no known cause. However, maintaining good sleep hygiene can help. Sleep hygiene refers to the whole collection of habits that affect sleep health.
In general, it is a good idea to develop a consistent bedtime and routine for “going to bed.” Discontinue the use of phones and other “screens” an hour before bed, since the blue light of these devices inhibits the brain’s natural response to reduced lighting at night.
Remember, many factors can contribute to sleep health issues:
Each individual has a slight variance in sleep need. Likewise, the duration of sleep needed does change depending on life stage. However, it is important to know everyone needs about eight hours of nightly sleep to maintain mental and physical health.
The majority of American adults experience sleep disturbances at some point in life. With that in mind, clinical trials on sleep truly affect everyone. Unfortunately, sleep disorders are under-diagnosed – and those who suffer often do not pursue treatment. Participating in clinical studies on sleep is one way to help ensure you, and others, will rest better.