Chronic sleep and wakefulness disorders affect an estimated 75 million adults in the US. This represents 25% of the population. Although the National Sleep Foundation recommends that most adults obtain between 7-9 hours of sleep per night, a recent report (BRFSS 2009) stated that 35% of adults obtain less than 7 hours of sleep each night.
Sleep deprivation leads to slowing of response time, a decline in short-term recall and working memory performance, reduced learning of cognitive tasks, loss of situational awareness (neglect activities judged to be nonessential). It contributes to many ailments including migraines, anxiety, hypertension, and heart disease. Sleep deprivation is common in modern society due to medical conditions, sleep disorders, work demands, social and domestic responsibilities.
The goal of visiting a practitioner with an interest in sleep disorders is to identify those treatable conditions that disrupt sleep as well as to receive advice on how to make lifestyle changes which promote a restful night sleep.
National Sleep Foundation (info)
Family Doctor: Insomnia (info)
NY Times: RLS (personal story)
NY Times: Narcolepsy (personal story)
NY Times: Sleep Apnea (personal story)
Sleep Apnea Association (info)
American Sleep Association (info)