Deutsch: Schlafstörung / Español: Trastorno del Sueño / Português: Distúrbio do Sono / Français: Trouble du Sommeil / Italiano: Disturbo del Sonno

In the context of psychology, a sleep disorder refers to conditions that affect the quality, timing, or duration of sleep, significantly impacting a person's overall health, mood, and ability to function.

General Description

Sleep disorders encompass a wide range of problems associated with sleeping, including difficulties falling or staying asleep (insomnia), excessive sleepiness (hypersomnia), disturbances in the sleep-wake cycle, and abnormal behaviors during sleep (such as sleepwalking). These disorders can have profound psychological impacts, contributing to stress, depression, and anxiety, and can also be a symptom or consequence of other psychological issues.

Application Areas

Sleep disorders are relevant in various psychological fields:

  • Clinical Psychology: Treatment often involves cognitive-behavioral therapy for insomnia (CBT-I), which addresses behaviors and thoughts that affect sleep.
  • Health Psychology: Focuses on the interplay between sleep and overall health, promoting better sleep habits as part of a holistic approach to health.
  • Neuropsychology: Studies the brain mechanisms underlying sleep and the effects of sleep disorders on cognitive functions.

Well-Known Examples

One well-known sleep disorder is obstructive sleep apnea, which involves repeated breathing interruptions during sleep. This condition not only affects physical health but also leads to significant daytime fatigue and cognitive impairments, affecting psychological well-being.

Treatment and Risks

Treatment for sleep disorders varies depending on the type and severity of the disorder but may include behavioral therapy, medication, and lifestyle changes. Psychological interventions, particularly those targeting stress and habits related to sleep hygiene, are crucial. The risks of untreated sleep disorders include impaired cognitive function, mood disorders, and decreased quality of life.

Similar Terms

Related terms include "insomnia," "sleep apnea," and "narcolepsy," which specify particular types of sleep disturbances.


Articles with 'Sleep Disorder' in the title

  • Breathing-related sleep disorder: breathing-related sleep disorder refers to sleep disruption leading to excessive sleepiness or insomnia, caused by a breathing problem such as interrupted breathing or sleep Apnea or labored breathing or hypoventilation- Other /More definit . . .
  • Circadian rhythm sleep disorder: Circadian rhythm sleep disorder refers to a sleep disturbance resulting in sleepiness or insomnia, caused by the body’s inability to synchronize its sleep patterns with the current pattern of day and night


In psychology, sleep disorders are recognized for their significant impact on mental and emotional health. Effective management often requires a combination of psychological and medical interventions to address both the symptoms and the underlying causes of sleep disturbances.