Sleep Psychologist

Sleep Disorders

There are over 80 different sleep disorders. Some of the most common include:

Obstructive Sleep Apnea

    • What is it?
    • A decrease and/or cessation of breathing during sleep.
    • Common symptoms
    • include snoring, waking up gasping for air, difficulty breathing at night, frequent awakenings from sleep, and excessive daytime sleepiness.


    • Sleep Onset and/or Sleep Maintenance Insomnia: difficulty falling asleep and/or staying asleep
    • Insomnia may be caused by poor sleep hygiene, behavioral conditioning, or psychological symptoms such as depression and anxiety
    • Click here for some helpful INSOMNIA TIPS.

Restless Legs Syndrome

    • What is it?
    • A creepy crawly sensation in the legs at nighttime. It often feels like an uncomfortable tingling sensation.
    • The discomfort typically goes away when the person massages the legs or gets up and moves around.
    • RLS can cause Sleep Onset Insomnia.

Periodic Limb Movement Disorder

    • What is it?
    • An abnormal amount of limb movements during sleep. These may or may not be associated with EEG arousals.
    • Many people are unaware that they have PLMs, but they may experience excessive daytime sleepiness and fatigue due to frequent arousals at night.

REM Sleep Behavior Disorder

    • What is it?
    • A disinhibition of muscle atonia during Stage REM sleep. Muscle atonia means that the body does not move during Stage REM sleep. This is a normal survival mechanism so that we do not "act out" our dreams. However, in persons with RBD, the muscle atonia is intermittently lost.
    • Symptoms
    • include movements during sleep, associated with dream content. Often these dreams are vivid in nature and involve fighting, running, chasing, or struggling.
    • RBD is more common in men who are over 55-years-old.


    • What is it?
    • A disorder characterized by excessive daytime sleepiness that is often associated with cataplexy (loss of muscle tone provoked by strong emotion), sleep paralysis, and hypnagogic hallucinations (vivid perceptual experiences that occur at sleep onset).
    • Nocturnal sleep disturbance with frequent awakenings may also occur.

Advanced Sleep-Phase Syndrome

    • What is it?
    • A circadian rhythm disorder where there is a complaint of an inability to stay awake until the desired bedtime or an inability to remain asleep until the desired wake time.
    • In other words, a person with this disorder falls asleep earlier in the evening than he/she would like to and wakes up earlier in the morning than he/she wants to. For example, someone who falls asleep at 8 PM each evening and wakes up at 4 AM.
    • This syndrome is more common in the elderly, but may occur at any age.

Delayed Sleep Phase Syndrome

    • What is it?
    • A circadian rhythm disorder in which there is a complaint of difficulty falling asleep until very late and subsequent difficulty waking up at the desired time in the morning.
    • A typical complaint is Sleep Onset Insomnia, with extreme difficulty waking up in the morning at a desired time. There is typically no reported problems maintaining sleep once sleep has begun.
    • This syndrome is more common in adolescence and college students, but may occur at any age.


Since many sleep disorders have similar symptoms (e.g. excessive daytime sleepiness, difficulty falling asleep at night, frequent awakenings from sleep, etc.), it is highly recommended that persons seeking consultation and treatment for a sleeping difficulty see a Board Certified Sleep Specialist.


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