A sleep disorder disrupts and disturbs your overall quality of life. Sleep disorders can affect children, teens, single adults, parents or senior citizens. More than 70 million people in the U.S. have a sleep disorder. Most of those who have one are completely unaware of it, and many of those who are aware of it never choose to seek the help that they need.

The amount of sleep that a person needs to function normally depends on several factors (e.g., age).

Infants sleep most of the day (about 16 hours); teenagers usually need about 9 hours a day; and adults need an average of 7 to 8 hours a day. Although elderly adults require about as much sleep as young adults, they usually sleep for shorter periods and spend less time in deep stages of sleep. About 50% of adults over the age of 65 have some type of sleep disorder, although it is not clear whether this is a normal part of aging or a result of medications that older people commonly use.

Living with a sleep disorder can feel like you are fighting a losing battle. Research continues to shed new light on the process of sleep, helping doctors to know how sleep disorders affect the human body.

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