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What are The Major Sleep Disorders?

by Eric Martin
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What are The Major Sleep Disorders?

According to the American Sleep Association (AMA), about 50 to 70 million Americans are affected by various sleep disorders. Whether it’s work, school, housework, or social life, we are demanded to perform our best, often compromising the rest. We are unable to get enough sleep at the end of the day.

What is a Sleep Disorder?

What is a Sleep Disorder?

Sleep disorder or somnipathy is a medical condition that results in irregular or disrupted sleeping patterns. It affects your body’s internal resting clock and overall health and safety. It affects your lifestyle quality. If not treated at right time, it will affect your health adversely leading you to health problems and safety issues. 

What are The Causes of Sleeping Disorders?

People most experience sleeping problems for some time due to stressful life events, situations, or hectic schedules which happen to them on regular intervals daily. Sometimes sleep disorders also occur due to sudden shifts or changes in a new timezone, place, or work shift. In conclusion, any emotional. mental or physical change which affects the body’s internal clock of rest and works over a long period can result in a sleeping disorder.

How to Know if You Have Any Signs of a Sleeping Disorder?

How to Know if You Have Any Signs of a Sleeping Disorder

Most of the sleeping disorder signs and symptoms can be self-diagnosed. You can read various articles or information related to this. Here are some signs you have a sleep disorder:

  1. Excessive sleeping on days
  2. Irregular breathing patterns while sleeping
  3. Irregular sleeping cycle
  4. Difficulty in facing asleep
  5. Getting restless during sleep
  6. Increase body movement while sleeping

If you find any of these signs in you or someone you know then you should seek medical help. 

If you have any signs of above mentioned common sleep disorders then worry not. Most of them are treatable. Before jumping to a conclusion, it is important to know what kind of specific sleep disorder you may have and the level of severity you are going through. 

Classification of Sleep Disorders Accepted Worldwide

Sleep disorders can be classified into three systems that are recognized worldwide:

Each system was developed by different organizations and it is used by different categories of medical experts who treat people with sleeping disorders.

Common Sleep Disorders

Some common/major sleep disorders that are found among people are as follows:

  • Insomnia is a chronic problem with difficulty falling asleep and/or staying asleep when no other cause is found. Insomnia can accompany or be a secondary problem for other disorders.
  • Narcolepsy is a chronic sleep disorder in which patients feel an excessive amount of sleep during sleep time and face sudden sleep attacks
  • Parasomnia is a sleep-related disruptive event involving inappropriate behaviour during sleep like sleepwalking, night terrors, and Catalonia.
  • disturbances, affect sleep quality and lead to periodic limb movement disorder (PLMD).
  • Rapid eye movement sleep behaviour disorder (RBD),  violent or dramatic dreams during REM sleep, sometimes hurting bed partner or self (REM sleep disorder or RSD).
  • Restless Legs Syndrome is a medical condition causing patients to move their legs uncontrollably usually due to sensations that make them feel uncomfortable
  • Shift work sleep disorder (SWSD) is a sleep disorder that usually affects night shift workers due to disruption in their body sleep patterns
  • Sleep apnea, obstructive sleep apnea, and airway obstruction during sleep prevent adequate deep sleep and are often accompanied by snoring. Other forms of sleep apnea are less common. Obstructive sleep apnea (OSA) is a medical disorder that can cause collapse on a repeat of the upper airway (back of the throat) during sleep. In sleep studies, Apnea is an episode of complete upper airway collapse lasting at least 10 seconds. 
  • We can characterize Sleep paralysis as temporary paralysis of the body just before or after sleep. Sleep paralysis also comes along with hallucinations that can be visual, tactile, or auditory. Not a disorder unless severe and often seen as part of narcolepsy.  
  • Sleepwalking or sleepwalking, activities that usually relate to being awake (such as eating or dressing).
  • Other limb movements during sleep, such as sleep cramps and nocturnal myoclonus.
  • Regular limb movements during sleep (PLMS), sudden involuntary movements of arms and legs during sleep. In the absence of other sleep disorders, PLMS can cause sleep 
  • Nocturia is the general need to get up at night to urinate. This is different from nocturnal enuresis and bedwetting. In nocturnal enuresis, a person does not wake up from sleep, but the bladder remains empty.
  • Night terrors, also known as sleep terror disorder, are sudden, intense fear that can occur during sleep. The fear may be so intense that it causes people to wake up abruptly.
  • Nocturnal Bruxism, involuntary grinding or clenching of the teeth while sleeping is a condition where a person clenches their jaw or grinds teeth during sleep.
  • Catathrenia, this medical condition consists of involuntary breath holding (apnea) and expiratory groaning when an individual sleeps.
  • Delayed sleep phase disorder (DSPD), inability to wake up and fall asleep at socially acceptable times but no problems maintaining sleep, disruption of circadian rhythms. Other such disorders are progressive sleep phase disorder (ASPD), non-24-hour (non-24-hour) sleep-wake disorder in the sighted or blind, and irregular wakefulness during sleep, all of which occur frequently. Much less common than DSPD, as well as situational shift work sleep disorder.
  • Hypopnea syndrome is a condition in which people breathe abnormally shallow or slow when they’re sleeping.
  • Idiopathic hypersomnia is a primary neurologic cause of long sleeping, which shares many similarities with narcolepsy.

Rare Sleep Disorders

These conditions are rare sleep disorders that occur to less number of populations worldwide.

  • Somniphobia, one of the causes of sleep deprivation, is dread or fear of falling asleep or going to bed. Signs of the illness may include anxiety and panic attacks before and during attempts to sleep.
  • Kleineā€“Levin syndrome is a rare disorder and can characterize by persistent episodes of hypersomnia and changes in mood or cognition.
  • Fatal familial insomnia is a rare brain disorder that causes people to stop sleeping, which can lead to death from lack of rest.


There are varieties of sleep disorders ranging from standard to rare sleeping disorders. We must be aware of such medical conditions and seek medical help if we are going through such signs and symptoms. We should take care of our bodies and make sure we get enough sleep so that our bodies can function properly.

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