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Common Sleep Disorders and Conditions We Treat

Some of the more common sleep disorders we diagnose and treat at the UPMC Hamot Sleep Disorders Center include insomnia, sleep apnea, narcolepsy, and parasomnias.


Insomnia affects more than 70 million Americans, with 58 percent of adults experiencing symptoms of insomnia a few nights a week or more.

There are two types of insomnia.

  • Short-term insomnia is often due to a temporary situation such as stress, or a change in or loss of a job or a relationship. It is treatable with medications.
  • Long-term or chronic insomnia can have underlying medical, physical, or psychological causes and is a risk factor for the onset of depression.

» Insomnia: learn more in our Health Library.

Sleep Apnea

Sleep apnea is a serious disorder characterized by brief interruptions of breathing during sleep.

In its most common form, the sleeper experiences brief episodes when air cannot flow into or out of the nose or mouth, despite efforts to continue to breathe. Snoring typically accompanies the interruptions in breathing.

In a given night, the number of involuntary pauses in breathing can be as high as 20 to 60 per hour.

Sleep apnea may be associated with:

  • Irregular heartbeat
  • High blood pressure
  • Heart attack
  • Stroke

» Sleep apnea: learn more at UPMC's Comprehensive Lung Center.


Narcolepsy is a disorder of the body’s central nervous system in which messages from the brain regarding when to sleep are blocked or received at the wrong time.

Narcolepsy is marked by excessive daytime sleepiness with a tendency to fall asleep at inappropriate times. It affects approximately one in every 2,000 people, with the majority experiencing the onset of symptoms between the ages of 15 to 30.

» Narcolepsy: learn more in our Health Library.


Parasomnias are conditions that interrupt sleep and are caused by difficulties with sleep stage transitions.

Visit our Health Library to learn more about the following common parasomnias: