The Cleveland Clinic

Sleep Disorders: Fact or Fiction?

How much do you know about sleep disorders? Review these statements and learn which are true and which are not.

Health problems such as obesity, diabetes, hypertension, and depression have no relation to the amount and quality of a person's sleep.

Fiction: More and more scientific studies are showing correlations between poor quality sleep and/or insufficient sleep with a variety of diseases, including hypertension, diabetes and depression. For example, insufficient sleep can impair the body's ability to use insulin, which can lead to the onset of diabetes. In addition, insufficient sleep affects growth hormone secretion that is linked to obesity. As the amount of hormone secretion decreases the chance of weight gain increases.

The older you get, the fewer hours of sleep you need.

Fiction: Sleep experts recommend a total sleep time of seven to nine hours of sleep for the average adult. Sleep patterns change as people age, but the amount of sleep they generally need does not. Older people may wake more frequently through the night and may actually get less nighttime sleep, but their need for sleep is no less than that of younger adults.

Snoring is common and can be harmful.

Fact: Snoring can be a sign of sleep apnea, a sleep disorder that is associated with other medical problems such as cardiovascular disease. Sleep apnea is characterized by episodes of reduced or no airflow throughout the night. People with sleep apnea may remember waking up frequently during the night gasping for breath.