Cape May County Employee Wellness Program

What Are Sleep Disorders?

Sleep disorders include dyssomnias and parasomnias, where dyssomnias include insomnia, hypersomnia, and narcolepsy, while parasomnias include nightmare disorder, sleep terrors, sleep walking, and nocturnal eating disorder.

Primary insomnia involves difficulty initiating or maintaining sleep not occurring exclusively during psychological disorder or after substance abuse and causes significant distress and impairment. Patients with insomnia experience anxious thoughts about daily life activities due to lack of sleep and associate negative thoughts and feelings toward the bedroom.

Hypersomnia is excessive sleepiness and getting too much sleep and its impacts are similar to that of insomnia. Narcolepsy is irresistible attacks of refreshing sleep where the patient experiences loss of muscle tone and immediately falls into a state of REM sleep and may go through hallucination or sleep paralysis.

Dyssmonias can be resolved with medication, but in the case of insomnia patients are advised to rely on medication no longer than four weeks to avoid dependence. Relaxation and meditation remedies are also recommended. With parasomnias, serious events have occurred such as an individual to committing acts of violence, and in some cases are not held responsible due to a stage of unconsciousness causing law enforcing conflict.

Sleep apnea is another serious sleep disorder where a patient undergoes an obstruction of in the airways and repetitively stops breathing causing extremely disturbed sleeping patterns.

Shift work sleeping disorder has become common in our country as well.

Online Resources:

American Heart Association



Sleep Foundation

National Institutes of Health