Rip Van Winkle slept for 20 years, but many individuals would give anything just to sleep peacefully through the night. According to the National Commission on Sleep Disorders Research, approximately 40,000,000 Americans have a chronic sleep disorder, and another 20,000,000 experience occasional sleep disturbances.
Steep disorders are estimated to cost the U.S. $15,900,000 per year in direct medical costs. In addition, a host of other conditions are associated with sleep problems, ranging from loss of productivity to higher mortality and accident rates. The International Classification of Sleep Disorders has divided them into four categories by possible cause: intrinsic sleep disorders, parasomnias, circadian rhythm sleep disorders, and extrinsic sleep disorders.
Intrinsic sleep disorders originate or develop within the body. Insomnia is the most common complaint, affecting more than 60,000,000 Americans, 35,000,000 of whom have suffered from the condition for a lone time. It plagues almost everyone at some point, often for the first time as children, too excited to sleep the night before a birthday party or major holiday. Insomnia varies with age and sex, occurring roughly 1.5 times more often in the elderly than in younger adults and affecting approximately 40% of women and 30% of men.
Transient, or short-term, insomnia can arise from …