Sleep disorders are a group of conditions that disturb normal sleep patterns. They are one of the most common clinical problems encountered in general practice. Often, they are due to underlying medical problems. Inadequate or non-restorative sleep can interfere with normal physical, mental, social, and emotional functioning. Thus, sleep disorders can affect overall health, safety, and quality of life.
Sleep disorders encompass several clinical problems encountered in outpatient settings and have a broad differential diagnosis; therefore, standardized definitions and classification are essential to proper management. Sleep disorders can be broadly classified into a few major patterns—insomnia, circadian rhythm disorders, hypersomnia/narcolepsy, and parasomnias, for example. Each of these categories of disorders requires a tailored approach to history-taking, evaluation, and management.