Classification and Description of Sleep Disorders
Proposed sleep disorders
These are sleep problems for which there is not enough information available to firmly establish them as discrete disorders.
1. Short sleeper
A short sleeper is someone who regularly sleeps less than 75 percent of the sleep time usually required in his or her age group, and feels no negative effects from this shortened sleep. Psychologically, short sleepers are basically normal, with a tendency to hypomanic behavior. They are usually smooth, efficient people who are distinct "nonworriers."
2. Long sleepers
Long sleepers need substantially more sleep than most people. This usually means sleeping 10 hours or more for adults. The timing and structure of sleep is normal in true long sleepers-when making this diagnosis it is important to rule out other problems that might lead to long hours in bed. Psychologically, long sleepers tend to be more introverted than others, and often appear mildly depressed or anxious when interviewed by researchers. They are often described as worriers.
3. Subwakefulness syndrome
Some people complain about a lack of daytime alertness, but they have no nighttime sleep disruption and seem to be getting adequate sleep. There is no objective evidence of severe, excessive sleepiness, but a display of daytime drowsiness can occur. This syndrome may be a less severe version of idiopathic hypersomnia, or may be caused by some other, unrecognized medical or psychiatric disorder.
4. Fragmentary myoclonus
Myoclonus is manifest by brief, involuntary jerks or twitches. Some people get this during non-REM sleep throughout the night. The proposed disorder is very rare and harmless.
5. Sleep hyperhydrosis (night sweats)
This commonly afflict people when they have a fever. Some people sweat heavily at night without any signs of fever or other disorders. Some people sweat excessively during sleep all their lives. This causes sleep disruption, as the people often have to get up to change pajamas or sheets.
6. Menstrual-associated sleep disorder
There are three forms of menstrual-associated sleep disorders: premenstrual insomnia, premenstrual hypersomnia, and menopausal insomnia. As these three names suggest, menstrual-associated sleep disorder can lead to either less sleep or more sleep than normal.
7. Pregnancy-associated sleep disorder
Pregnancy can also lead to either insomnia or excessive sleep and sleepiness. Pregnant women usually start the pregnancy feeling excessive need for sleep, and end pregnancy with insomnia due to physical discomfort. In rare cases, pregnancy and the postpartum period may be associated with nightmares, night terrors, or postpartum psychosis.
8. Terrifying hypnagogic hallucinations
When people fall asleep normally, closed eyes and a state of drowsiness give way to reverie, and vague thoughts and images flow through the mind just as sleep is descending. Rarely, these common, unthreatening hypnagogic images can turn threatening, and seem real, partly as a result of how quickly they follow wakefulness. These hallucinations are common in people with narcolepsy, who regularly go into REM sleep right after falling asleep.
9. Sleep-related laryngospasm
Very rarely, some people have a spasm of the throat that closes off the airway and halts breathing during sleep. The result is similar to a single episode of apnea, but these patients do not have apnea. Typically, the patient will wake up choking and jump out of bed, clutching the throat. Episodes last anywhere from a few seconds to five minutes. People who get these laryngospams typically experience them only two or three times per year. Drinking water usually speeds the relaxation of throat muscles.
10. Sleep choking syndrome
This sleep disorder is also rare, but its victims have episodes of choking almost nightly, and sometimes more than once a night. The patient wakes with feelings of fear, anxiety, and impending death. Fear is always associated with the choking, but patients don't suffer from nightmares, night terrors, or other forms of nocturnal anxiety attacks. They also don't suffer from obstructive sleep apnea.
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