Sleep and its disorders

A. N. Vgontzas, A. Kales

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

168 Scopus citations


Sleep disorders are very prevalent in the general population and are associated with significant medical, psychological, and social disturbances. Insomnia is the most common. When chronic, it usually reflects psychological/behavioral disturbances. Most insomniacs can be evaluated in an office setting, and a multidimensional approach is recommended, including sleep hygiene measures, psychotherapy, and medication. The parasomnias, including sleepwalking, night terrors, and nightmares, have benign implications in childhood but often reflect psychopathology or significant stress in adolescents and adults and organicity in the elderly. Excessive daytime sleepiness is typically the most frequent complaint and often reflects organic dysfunction. Narcolepsy and idiopathic hypersomnia are chronic brain disorders with an onset at a young age, whereas sleep apnea is more common in middle age and is associated with obesity and cardiovascular problems. Therapeutic naps, medications, and supportive therapy are recommended for narcolepsy and hypersomnia; continuous positive airway pressure, weight loss, surgery, and oral devices are the common treatments for sleep apnea.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)387-400
Number of pages14
JournalAnnual review of medicine
StatePublished - 1999

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • General Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology


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