Sleep disturbance

sleep disturbances, inaccurately also as sleeplessness designation, are deviations from the healthy sleep behavior. It divided in:

  • Difficulties falling asleep
  • disturbances of the Durchschlafens
  • premature awaking
  • excessive sleeping (Hypersomnie)
  • disturbances of the sleep awake rhythm
  • sleeplessness (Insomnie, Asomnie)
  • sleep changing (moon craze, Somnambulismus)
  • nightmares

each humans does not need accurately eightHours sleep. The sleep duration depends on the age and on the physical and mental condition. Babies need about 16 hours sleep, children about 7 to 12 hours and adults up to 8 hours.

Table of contents

sleep disturbances with babies and infants

newborn children have still no day/night rhythm. They sleep between 16 and 20 interrupted by 24 hours in more or less long sections, nearly only by food intake. Normally become with increasing agethe portions of the nocturnal sleep ever longer, those of the day sleep ever more briefly, for example finally only still two, then only a daily nap. This transition does not succeed to some children, it wakes its parents in the Kindergartenalter inside still several times at the night. In these casesoften behavior-therapeutic beginnings are most successful.

sleep disturbances with young people and younger adults

here are to be found most frequently psychological and social causes. Probably everyone knows sleepless nights from grief, joy, concerns, because of an exciting experience etc. Only if such sleep disturbances so frequentlyit becomes that they affect the efficiency unfavorably on the day, one must speak of its own disturbance with disease value. Often then an examination of the life-style is the first necessary measure (all too irregular sleeping times, work or private life which can be loaded, consumption of sleep-disturbing substances in the oversize, for exampleAlcohol, nicotine, Amphetamine, Koffein). A normal sleep rhythm can be regained then often best with sleep-hygenic measures. Sleeping drugs are recommended only for completely short term employment. With longer application they cause a worse sleep quality together with a dependence also.

Sleep disturbances with older humans

with old humans are the most frequent causes for sleep disturbance: Too much sleeping time and too little manipulation during the day. On the one hand the day is often boring or a load for old humans, why they would like to rise as early as possible to bed and as late as possible. On the other hand many believe,that they need sleep still much as 20 years before, when they stood still fully in the working life. This leads then to the fact that someone, which would have an actual sleep need of perhaps 6 hours spends actually however 9 hours in bed. There one in the long term no moreto sleep it can, when one needs, must then to the fact lead that these 9 bed hours with very bad sleep quality are bought. With the consumption of sleeping pills, which work still into the day inside, then a vicious circle from tiredness, Mittagsnickerchen and increasing nocturnal sleeplessness builds itself alsorising sleeping drug consumption up. Often can lead also in the body taking place the hormoneal conversion - particularly with women in the Menopause -, as well as excessive Sex, in particular with older humans, to sleep disturbances.

falling asleep disturbance one is appropriate for kinds

of not-organic sleep disturbances


work on] tormenting for a long timeawake, in extreme cases even for hours, until one falls asleep, often after unusual physical or mental effort, partly the concerning feel jerky and thoughts „go through the head “.


the sleep is superficial and „zerhackt “, one wakes up frequently, however without physical causes(for example thirst or urine urge).

premature awaking

one wakes up „much too early “and cannot fall asleep any longer. The concerning lies in bed, wishes themselves, to fall asleep again and lies tormenting for a long time awake. From premature awaking suffer frequently older humans, it become also senile bed escape mentioned.


Albträume are for the individual terrible or frightening dreams, which produce a certain suffering pressure by their repetitiven character. They step usually before or after loading events (for example car accident, examination, operation) or after an enduredIllness up. Also alcohol or drug consumption can lead to Albträumen.

disturbance of the sleep awake rhythm

under it one understands a longer persisting and strong shift of the sleep and of the awake phases, so that the routine of the day and the work everyday life suffer from it. (About 20% of the population are Frühaufsteher, 30% are „night people “and 50% are combinations.)

sleep changing (moon craze, night changing, Somnambulismus)

also the sleep changing (Somnambulismus) under the not-organic sleep disturbances are counted. The concerning goes „as in the dream “in the dwelling and seems partly in a well-planned manner tooact. It comes only rarely thereby to falls or injuries. After waking up many can remember nothing more.


the concerning suffer from an increased sleep need, complain however on the next day nevertheless about tiredness and exhaustion. Hypersomnie can do also organicCauses have.

To call here the Schlafapnoe syndrome ( loud Schnarchen with breathing spaces) is, in addition comes among other things Narkolepsie or the Restless Legs syndrome infrage.

Nichtorgani causes

  • Psychogene factors (fear, stress, debt feelings, conflicts, psychological diseases)
  • concerns and problems as most frequent causes for not-organicSleep disturbances show up by the fact that it has difficulties concerned with falling asleep and in bed around-rolls and digging ELT.
  • With depressions and deep sad detunings the concerning have few problems with falling asleep, are awake however after some hours, lie awake and have tormentingThought.
  • A bad living quality (to dry air, more überheizter or to cold area, bad air, an uncomfortable bed) leads sleep to one „zerhackten “.
  • Noise leads sleep to “zerhackten”, because the hearing remains “awake” during the sleep and the nervous system registers all noises.
  • The impairmentthe light dark rhythm with shift work leads to a disturbance of the sleep awake rhythm. „The internal clock “turns out from the equilibrium. During the daily the sleep is usually „superficially “and shortened and can hardly adjust the lost night hours.
  • Light
  • unfavorable situation
  • of medicines and drugs (Koffein, alcohol, Sleeping drug, waking amines …)
  • Koffeinhaltige pain and flu medicines, blood circulation-promoting means and asthma means can increase sleep problems. Sleeping drugs can bring sleep, just as also disturb him however, if one tries to set the means off after some time of habituation again.
  • Who drinks much alcohol, can fall asleep usually fast. Butthe alcohol loads the nervous system and the organs, which is busy with the dismantling of the poison during the sleep. „Anaesthetized “are relatively fast awake and from now on is disturbed the sleep. The most important sleep phase, which rem sleep, suppressed, the sleep profile changes.Alcohol is so seen in larger quantities of one of the largest sleep disturbers, although a glass wine or beer can be „a Schlummertrunk “.

organic causes

  • pain
  • illnesses of the heart, the breath organs, the Magen-Darm-Kanals, the Urogenitaltraktes, some glands as well as blood circulation disturbances
  • Schlafapnoe syndrome respiratory arrest phases (Apnoe)in the sleep
  • our genes: as well known Frühaufsteher remain their life long Frühaufsteher. Here the chronobiologisch active gene “Period3” (university OF Surrey) seems to be one of the causes.

complications with not-organic sleep disturbances

  • one feels on the next day „gerädert “, leached out, exhausted, taken away, one is unkonzentriert and needs many hours, in order to feel again fit.
  • Continuous lack of sleep affects the entire nervous system, it changes the perception, it disturbs the senses and weakens the immune system. In the meantime one knows around the consequences of chronically disturbed sleep. In addition countabove all blood high pressure, heart diseases, gastro-intestinal diseases as well as psychological diseases (for example depressions).
  • Often it comes also to the continuing use of sleeping drugs and to medicament dependence.
  • Altogether one estimates that the damage, which results in Germany from overtired humans in cars or at machines about 10 billionEuro per year constitute. About 20% of all accidents on the roads are based on tiredness.
  • A disturbance of the sleep awake rhythm leads to a shift of the entire routine of the day, which can lead to tiredness, mental absence, attraction barness and to accidents on the job. By the long Ausschlafen toWeekend and by the disturbance of the light dark rhythm can come it to depressive detunings.
  • Albträume can lead (in particular with children) to the fear of falling asleep and therefore to additional sleep problems. Beyond that they can affect the feeling life negatively on the day. In extreme cases Albträume can so stronglyits that they draw physical functions in.
  • Rarely sleep changing ( moon craze, night changing, Somnambulismus) can lead to falls and injuries; Articles can be shifted to other places, so that one does not regain them on the next day no more.

treatment of not-organic sleep disturbances

sleep-promoting workseverything that serves the relaxation and mental reconciliation. One must to release internally and outwardly „“be able, in order to find peace. Many humans prefer for it Kuschelstimmungen, individual poor and containing; own cushions or covers, which will umschlungen.

  • Relaxing rituals (z. B. play themselves a play together,to read out, to drink, from calm music sprinkle themselves leave) relaxation exercises leave
  • a honey milk
  • a warm bath with Melissen - or Lavendelöl
  • Massagen
  • gentle movement (however no arduous sport)
  • calming tea

above all psychological problems to sleep disturbances to lead there, can become the night an important problem aid. Itare quiet, the partner/the Partnerin and the children sleep, one are unimpaired and can about itself think. It can be helpful, the concerns and problems to note the trial balances and decisions ( best small steps ). In addition a sleep diary can be useful.

See also: senile bed escape


  • Jutta baking house and Dieter Riemann: Sleep disturbances. Hogrefe, Verl. for psychology, 1999. ISBN 3-8017-1122-6

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