sleep disorders

A sleep disorder, or somnipathy, is a medical disorder of the sleep patterns of a person or animal. Some sleep disorders are serious enough to interfere with normal physical, mental and emotional functioning. A test commonly ordered for some sleep disorders is the polysomnography. Disruptions in sleep can be caused by a variety of issues, from teeth grinding (bruxism) to night terrors. When a person suffers from difficulty in sleeping with no obvious cause, it is referred to as insomnia. In addition, sleep disorders may also cause sufferers to sleep excessively, a condition known as hypersomnia. Management of sleep disturbances that are secondary to mental, medical, or substance abuse disorders should focus on the underlying conditions.

Our sleep disorders Blogs

CBT for insomnia in people with active psychotic symptoms


Sarah McDonald appraises the Better Sleep Trial (BEST), a pilot RCT which shows that CBT may be a promising treatment for insomnia in people with active psychotic symptoms.

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CBT plus taper may help reduce short-term benzodiazepine use


John Baker summarises a recent Cochrane systematic review of psychosocial interventions for benzodiazepine harmful use, abuse or dependence.

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Sleep problems in children with learning disabilities. Can a group delivered sleep management intervention help?

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Lack of sleep for parents has been associated with depression, stress and anxiety and sleep problems for parents of children with learning disabilities are common.

Here, Rachel Allen looks at an evaluation of the effectiveness of a sleep management intervention that was delivered through support to groups of parents.

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Sleep disruption during and after pregnancy may be associated with postpartum mental illness


Susie Johnson summarises a systematic review that explores the relationship between sleep disruption and postpartum mental illness, which reports a link between self-reported poor sleep during and after pregnancy and the development of postpartum depression.

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CBT for insomnia in psychiatric populations: an effective alternative to hypnotics?

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Amy Green appraises a systematic review of CBT for insomnia (CBTi) in people with comorbid mental illness, which concludes that cognitive behaviour therapy could be an effective alternative to hypnotics. However, concerns about the review methodology cast some doubt on the findings.

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Meta-review presents the risks of all-cause and suicide mortality in mental disorders


This recent and well-conducted meta-review concludes that the impact on mortality and suicide of mental disorders is substantial, and probably poorly appreciated as a public health problem. Raphael Underwood’s blog summarises the data for all-cause and suicide mortality in mental disorders.

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Childhood nightmares, night terrors, sleepwalking and psychotic experiences


I was a terrible sleeper as a child. I remember lying awake on one particular occasion because I had read a book about space and thought that the sun might swallow up the earth. I was intrigued then, when I was asked to review a paper for the Mental Elf about parasomnias and childhood psychotic [read the full story…]

Cochrane review finds no good quality evidence for common medicines used to treat sleep problems in Alzheimer’s Disease


People with dementia caused by Alzheimer’s Disease (ADD) (which is estimated to be around three quarters of people with dementia) often suffer from sleep disturbances.  These symptoms cause distress to the person with dementia and to their carers, increase the likelihood of admission to a care home, and are also very difficult for care home [read the full story…]

ADHD and the importance of healthy sleep

child sleeping on school books

Good sleep is a crucial part of our physical and mental well-being. We typically spend about a third of our lives asleep but when we miss out on sleep, we can feel fatigued and struggle to concentrate. Sleep problems are generally quite common and have been reported as one of the most common health conditions [read the full story…]

Yoga for psychiatric disorders: systematic review shows some benefit but more research needed


Here at Mental Elf HQ, several new pieces of research relating to yoga have come our way.  This blog is the first in a series examining the mental health effects of engaging in yoga. Yoga is a form of exercise (largely comprising physical postures and breathing) which originated in India over 5,000 years ago.  Many [read the full story…]