Common sleeping disorders

other sleep disorders

Do you have trouble sleeping at night? Are you constantly tossing and turning, or waking up in the middle of the night? If so, you may be suffering from a sleeping disorder. Sleeping disorders are common and can affect your quality of life. In this blog post, we will discuss the most common sleeping disorders and how to get a good night’s sleep.

What are sleep disorders?

Sleep disorders are conditions that impact the quality, timing, or duration of a person’s sleep and influence how well they can function while awake. These illnesses might trigger additional medical symptoms, and some may also be indicators of underlying mental health issues.

The American Sleep Disorders Association published the first classification system for sleep disorders in 1979. Our understanding and knowledge of sleep health has developed over the last four decades. More than 100 distinct sleep problems have been identified, and today’s classifications employ sophisticated approaches to classify these diseases based on causes, symptoms, physiologic and psychological effects, and other criteria.

How common are sleep disorders?

Sleep disorders are common and can affect people of all ages. A study from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) found that about 50 to 70 million American adults have a sleep disorder. That’s about one-third of the adult population!

There are many different types of sleep disorders, and each one can have a different impact on a person’s life. Some disorders are quite rare, while others are more common. The most common sleep disorder is insomnia, followed by obstructive sleep apnea and restless legs syndrome.

How many types of sleep disorders are there?

symptoms of sleep disorders


According to normal calculations, 10-30% of individuals suffer from some sort of insomnia. Insomnia is defined as a persistent inability to fall or stay asleep despite the desire and ability to do so due to daytime impairments caused by lack of sleep. Chronic insomnia occurs when people experience symptoms at least three times each week for at least three months. Short-term insomnia refers to sleeplessness that lasts less than three months.

Confusional arousals

Confused behavior in bed is exhibited by individuals who experience confusional arousals as a result of incomplete arousal from a deep sleep. They won’t react to others who try to assist them, and they won’t remember the event at all.

Night terrors

When people have night terrors, they frequently scream or act out in their sleep but will have no recollection of the event after waking up. The majority of night terror episodes are brief, although they may last for several minutes in rare circumstances.


Sleepwalking is the term used to describe a sleep condition in which individuals walkabout while still asleep. Sleepwalkers may go anywhere in or outside their homes, although some stay in their bedrooms. Waking up a sleepwalker might cause him or her to become violent.

Sleep-related sexual abnormal behaviors

When sleeping, persons suffering from this condition will engage in predatory or uncharacteristic sexual behavior. Individuals with this diagnosis, also known as “sexsomnia,” will have little to no recall of their actions when they wake up.

Sleep-related breathing disorders

sleep quality

Breathing during sleep is one of the most common sleep-related breathing problems. Sleep apnea, a serious breathing issue that affects both children and adults, can lead to significant daytime effects due to its disruption of sleep. Breathing difficulties while sleeping includes obstructive sleep apnea (OSA) and central nervous system (CNS) arousals syndrome, which are both very disruptive to sleep. Snoring caused by obstructive sleep apnea (OSA) or central nervous system arousal syndrome is another common type of snoring in children and adults.

See also  Insomnia

Central sleep apnea

Central sleep apnea, or CSA, is a type of sleep apnea that causes breathing pauses throughout the night. The key difference is causation. Rather than a physical obstruction blocking the airway, CSA occurs when the brain fails to send signals to the muscles that control respiration. Obesity, heart failure, and some medicines can all contribute to central sleep apnea.

Obstructive sleep apnea

Obstructive sleep apnea (OSA) is a type of sleep apnea in which there are recurrent, minor episodes of breathing failure during sleep. People with this condition frequently wake up choking or gasping for air several times throughout the night, and they report tiredness and non-restorative sleep during the day. When the airway is obstructed due to physiological reasons such as a narrow throat, big tongue, smaller lower jaw, or obesity, obstructive sleep apnea (OSA) occurs. If your child has not had his/her tonsils or adenoids removed, he/she may develop OSA.

Sleep-related hypoxemia disorder

Hypoxemia is the condition of having low oxygen levels in the blood. The majority of people’s blood oxygen levels fall during sleep-related hypoxemia. Sleep-related hypoxia might be a sign of a medical problem like pulmonary hypertension, chest wall abnormalities, or neurologic and neuromuscular problems.

Sleep-related hypoventilation disorders

sleep medicine

Sleep apnea is a common sleep disorder characterized by loud snoring and periodic interruptions in breathing. When sleepers don’t get enough ventilation, the carbon dioxide levels in their blood rise, causing these problems. Obesity, genetic abnormalities, specific medicines and treatments, and underlying medical issues can all contribute to sleep-related hypoventilation.

Sleep-wake disorders

This category of circadian rhythm sleep disorders is tied to a person’s internal clock and the factors that regulate their 24-hour sleep cycle. Light plays a major role in the circadian rhythm. When our eyes are exposed to natural or artificial light, our body releases compounds that keep us awake and alert; when light disappears at night, the body produces different compounds to induce feelings of drowsiness and relaxation. Sleep-wake disorders occur in people whose circadian rhythms are misaligned, causing them to feel alert and tired at abnormal times of the day.

Sleep-wake phase disorder

 This disorder is defined by the inability to fall asleep and wake up at the intended times and falls into two subcategories. Delayed sleep-wake phase disorder occurs when the patient’s sleep-wake cycle is delayed by at least two hours. For advanced sleep-wake phase disorder, patients fall asleep and wake up at least two hours ahead of schedule. Symptoms must persist for at least three months to warrant a diagnosis.

Shift work sleep disorder

Shift work sleep disorder is a sleeping problem that affects many people who work odd hours. The majority of shift workers have jobs that require them to work outside of a regular 9-5 schedule, including late shifts and overnight shifts. They suffer from insomnia at night and significant daytime drowsiness as their sleep routine is out of sync with a normal 24-hour circadian rhythm, which is influenced by light and darkness. Every 24-hour period, shift workers may lose up to four hours of sleep on average.

Irregular rhythm sleep-wake disorder

sleep medicine

When a person has Kleine-Levin syndrome, he or she may have trouble falling asleep and remaining asleep for long periods of time. The main feature is recurring sleep and waking episodes over a 24-hour period. When individuals are attempting to fall asleep and remain asleep, they frequently endure insomnia symptoms.

Jet lag disorder

When travelers pass through numerous time zones during a single flight or series of successive flights, their circadian rhythm becomes out of sync with local time at their final destination. The length of travel and the direction traveled to have an impact on jet lag severity; eastbound passengers are more prone to experience severe jet lag than westbound ones.

Non 24 sleep wake disorder

This condition is characterized by a disconnect between one’s internal clock and a 24-hour cycle. Their sleep-wake cycle might be shorter or longer than 24 hours, depending on how their circadian rhythm is organized. The majority of individuals with non-24 sleep-wake disorder are completely sightless.

Sleep related movement disorders

national sleep foundation

These disorders are characterized by abnormal movements during sleep that can be disruptive for the individual, as well as their sleep partner. They often cause excessive daytime sleepiness and fatigue due to sleep loss.

See also  Delayed sleep phase syndrome

Periodic limb movements disorder

During the night, individuals with this condition, known as PLMS, will have periodic bodily movements that correspond to arousal and sleep disruptions. Movements are generally restricted to the lower extremities in patients. Patients are frequently unaware of their own twitches or sleep arousal.

Restless legs syndrome

This is a neurological disorder that causes individuals to feel unpleasant or painful sensations in their legs. These feelings are generally more powerful at night when the individual sits or lies down for long periods of time. When RLS afflicts people, they develop strong urges to move their legs in order to relieve the pain.

Sleep-related bruxism

Sleep bruxism is when a person grinds his or her teeth during sleep. This can result in chronic jaw discomfort, tooth wear, and other side effects over time. Many people with bruxism use an anti-snoring mouthpiece or mouthguard, such as a mandibular advancement device that pushes the jaw forward physically or a tongue retaining device that keeps the tongue in place.

Hypersomnolence disorders

difficulty falling asleep

Hypersomnolence refers to daytime sleepiness and exhaustion despite a good circadian rhythm and a sufficient amount of sleep the night before. These sentiments might lead to involuntary naps, putting people at risk of accidents. Some individuals with hypersomnolence disorders feel sleepy while awake, while others fall asleep without knowing it.

Idiopathic hypersomnia

Idiopathic hypersomnia, like narcolepsy, is an uncommon sleeping disorder characterized by a compelling desire to sleep or episodes of sleeping when one is awake. However, idiopathic hypersomnia does not include cataplexy. Patients must not have any underlying sleep disorders or preexisting conditions that can account for their hypersomnia.


When patients with ordinary sleep habits experience the uncontrollable desire to sleep or fall asleep unintentionally on a daily basis for at least three months, they have narcolepsy. This condition is divided into two categories. Cataplexy, a brief muscular weakness or paralysis, is an example of Narcolepsy Type 1; whereas, the second variant of this illness might include some muscle weakness but not to the same degree.

Kleine-levin syndrome

Kleine-Levin Syndrome, also known as Kleine-Levin disease or sleeping sickness, is a rare condition characterized by lengthy sleep episodes — up to 20 hours per day in some circumstances. The first episode frequently follows a bodily infection or excessive alcohol use, and it generally occurs once every year or so. Episodes can last for days, weeks, or even months at a time. Cognitive impairment, altered perceptions, eating problems, and disinhibited behaviors are all common characteristics of Kleine-Levin Syndrome. The level of drowsiness experienced during periods of extended sleep decreases over the course of eight to 12 years.


Parasomnias are abnormal behaviors that occur before, during, or after sleep. Parasomnias can happen at any time throughout the night cycle and even during the transition period between sleeping and waking.

The following are examples of parasomnia which primarily affect the non-rapid eye movement (NREM) sleep stages:

Confusional arousals

Those who experience confusional arousals will exhibit confusing behavior in bed due to incomplete arousal from a deep sleep. They won’t react to other people who attempt to intervene, and they’ll have little to no memory of the event.


Also known as somnambulism, sleepwalking occurs when people get out of bed and move about while still asleep. Sleepwalkers may remain in their bedrooms, but some travel to other areas in or outside of their residence. Attempting to wake up a sleepwalker can result in aggressive behavior.

Night terrors

When someone experiences night terrors, they often cry or act out in their sleep but will have little to no memory of the incident after waking. Most night terror episodes are brief, but they can last for several minutes in some cases.

Sleep-related sexual abnormal behaviors

People with this condition will display aggressive or uncharacteristic sexual behavior while asleep. As with other parasomnias, those with this condition – also known as “sexsomnia” – will remember very little, if any, of their behavior when they wake up

Parasomnias that occur during the rapid-eye-movement (REM) stage of sleep are most likely to do so. These are:

REM sleep behavior disorder

REM sleep behavior disorder, also known as RSBD or RBD for short, is a neurological sleeping disorder in which people act out on their dreams physically or vocally. This condition’s symptoms may disrupt sleep and cause discomfort for the individual as well as their partner, putting them at an increased risk of physical harm.

See also  Sleep disorder treatments

Sleep paralysis

When people experience sleep paralysis, they frequently feel completely paralyzed as soon as they wake up. This might happen when you fall asleep. The most common paralysis episodes last a few minutes at most, although this condition can induce sleeplessness in some individuals.

Nightmare disorder

Most people experience isolated dreams from time to time, but nightmare disorder is characterized by recurring, distressing dreams that disrupt sleep. For some individuals, the nightmares become more frightening. People who have nightmare disorders are frequently concerned about going to bed and waking up afterward.

Lastly, some parasomnias are not isolated to the NREM or REM stages. They may also occur during the transition between sleep and wakefulness:

Exploding head syndrome

When people with this condition are awoken from sleep, they may envision loud explosions in their heads. People may act out violently or vocally, although they will not actually feel any discomfort.

Sleep-related hallucinations

Hallucinations can occur at the onset of sleep or in the middle of a shift. These hallucinations may be so realistic that sleepers will try to get out of bed, raising the risk of injury. The delusions could endure for several minutes.

Sleep enuresis

Sleep enuresis is a condition in which a person urinates while sleeping. This problem affects many young children. Enuresis, on the other hand, is classified as a parasomnia by kids and adults aged five years old or more who have episodes at least twice a week for at least three months.


What are the causes of a sleeping disorder?

A sleeping disorder may have one or more underlying causes that need to be identified in order for an effective treatment plan to be put into place.

Some common causes of sleeping disorders include jet lag, shift work, stress, medications side effects, alcohol consumption, smoking cessation, and narcolepsy. Other factors such as age (young children and seniors), obesity, and bedwetting can also contribute to the development of a sleeping disorder.

Are there any home remedies for curing sleeping disorders?

There is no one-size-fits-all answer to this question, as the best way to treat a sleep disorder may vary depending on the individual’s specific condition. However, some self-care tips that may be helpful include establishing a regular sleep schedule, using relaxation techniques before bedtime, avoiding caffeine and alcohol late in the day, and avoiding vigorous exercise within four hours of bedtime. If needed, your doctor may also recommend medications or devices that can help you get better quality sleep.

How long does it usually take for sleeping disorders to go away?

Again, this will depend on the individual’s specific condition and the course of treatment that is prescribed. However, most sleeping disorders can be managed with the right diagnosis and treatment plan. It is important to seek medical help if you are having trouble getting a good night’s sleep so that an accurate diagnosis can be made and the best possible care can be provided.

Can sleeping disorders cause death?

While rare, there have been cases where people have died as a result of a sleeping disorder. For example, sufferers of narcolepsy may experience sudden muscle weakness (cataplexy) which could lead to accidents or injuries. Additionally, individuals with REM sleep behavior disorder may act out their dreams physically, potentially hurting themselves or their loved ones. It is therefore important to seek medical help if you are experiencing any symptoms of a sleeping disorder.

What should I do if I think I have a sleeping disorder?

If you are having trouble getting a good night’s sleep, it is important to seek medical help so that an accurate diagnosis can be made and the best possible care can be provided. There are many different types of sleeping disorders, each with its own set of symptoms, so it is important to consult with a healthcare professional who can help determine the cause and recommend an appropriate treatment plan.


Sleeping disorders can be a real hindrance to getting a good night’s sleep. They can cause people to have trouble falling asleep, staying asleep, or achieving deep and restful sleep. This in turn can lead to fatigue, irritability, and other negative effects on daily life. While most sleeping disorders can be managed with the right diagnosis and treatment plan, it is important to seek medical help if you are experiencing any symptoms of a sleeping disorder. With the variety of treatments available today, there is likely something that will help you get the quality sleep you need to feel your best.

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