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Symptoms of a sleep disorder include:
1. Excessive Daytime Sleepiness (EDS): can manifest itself as sleep attacks (irresistible sleepiness and/or an unusual, susceptibility to drowsiness.
2. Sleep Apnea: involves frequent cessations of breathing during a sleep period. Loud snoring usually accompanies each resumption of breathing. Awake, respiration is normal; asleep, the sufferer is unaware of breathing irregularities.
3. Cataplexy: a rapidly occuring loss of voluntary muscle tone, usually triggered by emotions such as laughter, anger, elation or surprise. A cataplectic attack can range from a brief experience of partial muscle weakness to an almost complete loss of muscle control lasting several minutes; the victim is conscious, but cannot move.
4. Disrupted Night-Time Sleep: multiple awakenings during each sleep period, often accompanied by a craving for food.
5. Hypnagogic Hallucinations: intense, vivid, sometimes terrifying experiences which occur at the beginning or end of a sleep period. Any or all of the normal senses may be involved and the experience is often very difficult to distinguish from reality.
6. Night Terrors (not to be confused with nightmares): usually affect young children who awaken in panic and confusion within an hour of falling asleep. Tghe pulse races and there is disorientation, but no memory of dreaming. Nightmares are not a disorder, but a natural dream phenomenon; only if they are recurrent and deeply disturbing is help necessary.
7. Automatic Behaviour refers to doing things (usually of a routine nature) with greatly reduced awareness of and intelligent control over the activities involved. One is generally unable to recall the specific details of one's activities.
8. Sleep Paralysis is an awareness of one's ability to move despite the desire to do so. It occurs as a person is falling asleep or waking up.
9. Sleepwalking (somnambulism) episodes occur occasionally in children, typically before the age of 10 and stopping by age 15. Frequent sleepwalking in adults is more serious, begins later in life, occurs more frequently, shows no family history, and is often related to major stress. Although sleepwalkers can avoid objects, they are clumsier than when awake and speech is usually unintelligible.
10. Bedwetting (enuresis) is found in about 10% of girls and 15% of boys at age five. Cases in older age groups may be related to physical disorders, congenitally small bladders or infections, or may be a result of generalized anxiety.