The excerpt below is from Let’s Talk About Sleep, by Adam Rush.
Dyssomnias are disorders related to sleeping duration, falling asleep, or waking up. People with these disorders have trouble falling asleep, staying asleep, or waking. Disruptions to the circadian rhythm may cause dyssomnias, but stress or trauma can also cause them. There are no cures for these disorders, but there are several treatments available.
Hypersomnia is a type of dyssomnia characterized by extreme drowsiness. People with hypersomnia may sleep for excessive periods of time. There are many possible causes, including depression, obesity, and head trauma. Hypersomnia can also be a symptom of other disorders. Although there is no cure, psychological behavioral therapy is one viable treatment. Living a healthy lifestyle also helps in reducing the effects of hypersomnia.
Another dyssomnia is narcolepsy. It is a reduced ability to control the sleep cycle. A person with narcolepsy has periods of extreme drowsiness at random times during the day. In extreme cases, narcolepsy might also cause momentary paralysis and hallucinations. The causes of narcolepsy are still unknown. Doctors suspect neurological factors may cause it. Patients can cope with this disorder by scheduling several naps throughout the day.
At the other side of the spectrum, we have insomnia. Insomnia is difficulty in falling asleep or staying asleep at night. It is one of the most common sleep disorders. Cases of insomnia are on the rise throughout modern societies. There are different subcategories of insomnia, depending on the duration of the disruption:
• Transient insomnia can last a few days or weeks and is usually caused by external factors. It may also appear as a symptom of another disorder. The consequences are very like those of sleep deprivation.
• Acute insomnia, or short-term insomnia, can last up to a month. One of the common causes is an especially stressful period in the person’s life.
• Chronic insomnia can last months or more. It can cause symptoms like mental fatigue, double vision, and hallucinations.
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