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Sleep and sleep disorders

  • Getting enough sleep is important. It affects your physical and mental health.

    Too little sleep (even 1 hour too little each night) can create a "sleep debt." If the debt becomes too great, problems may result.

    Too little sleep can lower your performance, concentration and reaction time. Too little sleep can cause:

    • accidents and injuries
    • behavior problems
    • physical problems
    • mood changes
    • memory lapses

    If you feel drowsy during the day or if you fall asleep within 5 minutes of lying down, you may not be getting enough sleep.

    Causes of sleep disorders

    Common causes of sleep disorders include:

    • use of caffeine, decongestants or other stimulants
    • alcohol use
    • smoking
    • not taking the time to sleep
    • poor sleep hygiene

    Although there are more than 80 types of sleep disorders, the most common include: sleep apnea, insomnia, restless leg syndrome, periodic limb movement disorder and narcolepsy.

  • When you’re afraid to sleep: Nightmares and nightmare disorders - teaser

    Did you know?

    • Some 100 million Americans do not get a good night's sleep.
    • About 40 million Americans suffer from long-term (chronic) disorders of sleep and wakefulness. Another 20 million Americans have sleeping disorders once in a while.
    • As you age, you sleep more lightly and for shorter amounts of time. About half of all people older than age 65 have sleeping problems.