The causes range from poor habits that keep you awake to medical problems that disrupt your sleep cycle. The dangers of poor sleepLack of sleep can take a toll on nearly every aspect of daily life. Research has linked sleep deprivation to car accidents, relationship troubles, poor job performance, job-related injuries, memory problems and mood disorders.
Studies also suggest sleep disorders may contribute to heart disease, obesity and diabetes. The rest of our sleep time is spent in NREM, which consists of four stages from light sleep (stage 1) to deep sleep (stage 4). InsomniaMost people have trouble sleeping once in a while, but when the problem lingers night after night you may have insomnia. Unfortunately, some of the medication used to treat these conditions may also cause sleep problems. If you suspect your medication is disrupting your sleep, seek medical advice about adjusting your treatment. The problem may return during menopause, when hot flushes can interrupt a good night's sleep. In this case, a kind of "internal body clock" that controls sleep, hormone production and other body functions, is disturbed.

Sleep apnoeaPeople with this sleep disorder have episodes when they stop breathing many times while they sleep. The breathing pauses last several seconds and trigger a switch from deep sleep to light sleep.
Risk factors for sleep apnoeaSleep apnoea is most common in people who are male, overweight and over age 65.
While it is more common in adults, sleep apnoea sometimes occurs in young children who have enlarged tonsils.
SleepwalkingPeople with this sleep problem can literally get up and walk while they are sleeping. The episodes occur during the deeper stages of NREM sleep, and the person may do a variety of activities without waking up. Sleepwalkers typically don't respond to questions and won't remember what they did once they wake up.
When to seek medical adviceThere are steps you can take to fight sleep disorders on your own, but some situations require medical attention. Seek medical advice if you snore loudly or gasp during sleep, if you think a medical condition or medication is keeping you up at night, if you're tired all the time or if you fall asleep during daytime activities. A polysomnogram, also called a sleep study, records brain activity, eye movements and breathing while you sleep.

These patterns can indicate a disorder like sleep apnoea or a less common type of sleep disorder. Research has identified more than 85 sleep problems, including sleep or night terrors, REM sleep behaviour disorder and sleep starts.
Treating sleep disordersFor sleep apnoea, a CPAP device increases air pressure to keep airways open so you can rest more soundly without the breathing pauses that interrupt sleep.
However, many people can beat insomnia without medication by changing poor sleep habits and taking care of related conditions. Cognitive behavioural therapySeveral methods can ease sleep anxiety, which makes insomnia worse. Sleep hygiene: TelevisionLate-night television may be part of your routine, but chances are it is not helping you sleep.
Sleep hygiene: Bedtime ritualsYou can signal to your mind and body that it's time for sleep by creating a bedtime ritual. If you still have trouble sleeping despite improving your sleep hygiene, seek medical advice.

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