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Sleep Problems and Disorders

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Delayed Sleep Wake Phase Disorder (DSWPD)
D’s Story, Part 1 D. is a young adult living at home with his parents. When he was younger, he could go to bed by 9 PM and wake up for 6 AM. But ever since becoming a teenager, when 9 PM comes around, he is simply not tired and seems to get a “second wind. Various strategies have been tried, including putting away all electronics by 8 PM and trying calming activities before bedtime. He finally falls asleep at 1 AM. Unfortunately, then he struggles to get up at 8 AM for school, even with multiple alarms and parents' efforts to wake up. He goes to school exhausted, his marks have dropped significantly this school ...
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Insomnia and Sleep Problems
Introduction It seems like life is getting more and more stressful all the time, with demands for work, school, family and home responsibilities. As a result, we often cut back on the very things that are the most important, like getting enough sleep…   Getting enough sleep is essential. Studies show that getting enough sleep is essential for maintaining proper health. Furthermore, lack of sleep can cause numerous health and related problems. It is a risk factor for mental health problems such as depression, and can also contribute to cardiovascular and other conditions. Being sleep deprived also significantly increases your risk ...
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Narcolepsy and Cataplexy: Information for Adults and Families
Case Jennifer is in her 20’s and has extreme problems with sleepiness. This is extremely frustrating, because when younger, she was extremely active and athletic. Nowadays however, no matter how much sleep she gets at night, she is always exhausted. The sleepiness is so bad that she’ll fall asleep on public transit, and even while talking with friends. It is so bad that she couldn’t finish high school, and hasn’t been able to keep any job due to her fatigue and inability to wake up on time for work. She has seen doctors and been tested for hormone, vitamin deficiencies and diet issues, but no one has found anything. Could I Have Narcolepsy? ...
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Night Terrors and Sleep Terrors: Information for Parents and Caregivers
Neil’s Story Neil is a 3-yo boy who lives with a loving family and enjoys going to his daycare. For the past year however, he’s had “night terrors”. He goes to bed, then has a blood curdling scream in the middle of the night, which has parents quite worried. What are Night Terrors? Night terrors are a common sleep disorder seen in children (usually aged 3-5) that are not dangerous, and that usually get better as the child gets older. Terms Other names include sleep terrors or pavor nocturnus. What Does a Night Terror Look Like? Typically, after going to sleep, the child wakes up with eyes wide open, looks of fear and panic, and may be ...
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Nightmares in Adults
What is a Nightmare? A nightmare is a very distressing dream that usually wakes one up, usually causing fear and upset. Nightmares are not real, though they can feel very real. How common are nightmares? Most people have experienced a nightmare at some point in their life, but in most cases, they are temporary and do not persist. However, when nightmares are severe and persist, they can cause numerous problems. They can: Affect the person having nightmares by leading the person to feel scared, anxious or depressed, and since they can interfere with sleep, can lead to fatigue.Affect family members, especially if their loved ones frequently ...
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Sleep in Children and Youth: Information for Caregivers
How Does Sleep Usually Happen?  The brain has an internal clock that tells us when we need to sleep. When it becomes dark outside in the evening, this clock is triggered to make melatonin. Melatonin is a brain chemical that makes us feel sleepy.    When youth reach adolescence, their sleep pattern changes. Their inner clocks shift, making them want to stay up later and sleep later the next morning. This can be difficult if they have an early school start time. Even so, try to accommodate this as far as possible.  How Much Sleep Does My Child/Youth Need?  Age of Child (in Years)Amount of Sleep ...
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Sleep Problems? Try Cutting Back on Your Blue Light
Introduction In today’s modern society, more and more people seem to be having problems with sleep problems (aka insomnia). It was not always this way however. Throughout most of history, human beings were outside during the daytime, and thus exposed to sunlight (from the sky) that would signal our brains it is daytime. And in the evening, as it gets dark, it is the lack of sunlight that is the normal signal for our brains that it is bedtime, and thus our brains make melatonin to help us sleep. Research suggests that blue light (and possibly also green light) are particularly important in suppressing our melatonin production in the evenings. ...
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