The new Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM 5) provides a diagnostic framework for psychologists and psychiatrists to determine a sleep-wake disorder. Some common disorders include:
- Insomnia: the predominant complaint being dissatisfaction of sleep quantity or quality; either in going to sleep or maintaining sleep; or early morning waking.
- Hypersomnolence: the self-reported excessive sleepiness that occurs after a reasonable period of usual sleep; that the person experiences significant distress during work or important areas of functioning.
- Narcolepsy: is a serious sleep disorder that occurs when an individual falls asleep while awake. This is particularly serious as this affects safety when driving and functioning during many daily activities.
- Obstructive Sleep Apnea Hypopnea: occurs when the breathing pathway is blocked during sleep, causing the person to frequently wake. Symptoms include snoring and breathing pauses during sleep.
- Sleep-Related Hypoventilation: this occurs when there are episodes of decreased respiration which causes increase in CO2 during sleep.
- Sleep Walking: Occurs when an individual arises from bed and walks around when asleep. This involves a blank stare, and difficultly awaking the individual.
- Night Terrors: occurs when the individual experiences an abrupt arousal from sleep and screams in panic. Sometimes individuals are aware of these events and others are not.
- Nightmares: occur usually during the dreaming stage of sleep. Nightmares are recalled as a memory of a negative emotion or event when dreaming. Nightmares can be vivid and recalled the next day or as emotional experiences (ie. fear, grief, anger).
The diagnosis of sleep disorders usually involves your GP and the skills of a psychologist or psychiatrist. Sleep disorders are frequently a concern with parents of children who do not sleep well. It is often difficult to determine whether the sleep disorder occurs in conjunction with common disorders like depression, anxiety or trauma. Sometimes they occur over a brief period, and other times for years.
Factors that influence sleep include intake of caffeine, illicit substances, prescription medication, poor sleeping habits, lack of safety in the home, poor health, physical health conditions, allergies, uncomfortable sleeping conditions such as cold/hot/bedding and disruptions caused by children and partners who are on shift-work or who snore.
If you are worried about a sleep disorder you might like to visit one of our team at Vision Psychology to discuss your concerns. Often the solution is simple and a good night’s sleep improves concentration and memory during the day.
Freecall 1800 877 924 to ask about about our free emotional health check up or to book a psychologist. If you like one of the psychologists here on our website, feel free to book online – any time of the day or night.
If you are reading this awake in the middle of the night, it is probably time to book an appointment!