Sleep disorders are also known as or subsume Circadian rhythm sleep disorders. -ed.
Dr. Culebras of Upstate Medical University, SUNY, offers an overview of the sleep disorders. This area of medicine has experienced a quasi-explosive expansion since the early development of clinical sleep laboratories in the 1970s. Sleep medicine oversees conditions as common as insomnia, restless legs syndrome, and sleep apnea, which have emerged as important risk factors for vascular disease and other ailments such as diabetes. New information points to moderate to severe sleep apnea as a factor in cognitive decline. Sleep neurology also covers less common but equally socially destructive disorders such as narcolepsy and the circadian dysrhythmias. Many neurologic disorders have associated sleep dysfunctions. The study of sleep physiology and pathophysiology is a window to the function of the brain. Overall successful clinical management of sleep disorders, whether insomnias or hypersomnias, improves the quality of life.