Sleep Disorders: Symptoms, Causes & Treatment

October 6, 2022

Sleep Disorders: Symptoms, Causes & Treatment
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Sleep disorders: what are they?

Daytime sleepiness and other symptoms may occur from sleep disorders, which affect your sleep quality or prevent you from receiving enough restorative sleep. Everybody occasionally struggles with sleep issues. However, the following may indicate a sleep disorder:

  • You frequently have trouble falling asleep.
  • Even though you slept for at least seven hours the night before, you are frequently exhausted during the day.
  • Your capacity to carry out typical daytime activities has been diminished or impeded.
  • Lack of sleep can negatively affect academic and professional performance, interpersonal interactions, health, and safety.

The development of diabetes and heart disease, as well as your safety and relationships, can all be negatively impacted by common sleep disorders like insomnia, restless legs syndrome, narcolepsy, and sleep apnea. These conditions can also impair your thinking and negatively impact your mental and physical health and weight. In addition, your quality of life may suffer from inadequate sleep.

How much rest is required?

Although some people need more sleep than others, experts generally advise adults to get seven to nine hours of sleep per night.

Adults (ages 18-54) reported sleeping an average of 6.4 hours per night on weekdays and 7.7 hours per night on weekends in a recent National Sleep Foundation. The survey revealed a decline in sleep duration during the previous few years. People who get less sleep frequently utilise the internet or bring work from the workplace home at night.

According to the National Sleep Foundation, older persons (aged 55 to 84) sleep an average of 7.1 hours on the weekends and 7.4 hours during the week. In older persons, the desire to use the restroom and physical pain or discomfort is the most frequent sleep disturbances.

The sleep patterns are declining. Age influences how much sleep is ideal. In a Sleep in America survey, children’s real sleep time was 1.5 to 2 hours less than suggested. Caffeine usage and televisions in their bedrooms lost an additional two hours per week.

What signs or symptoms indicate a sleep disorder?

There are various symptoms depending on the type and degree of the sleeping issue. They might differ if another ailment is the cause of the sleep disturbance.

But common signs of sleep problems include:

  • Trouble sleeping or staying asleep
  • Daytime drowsiness
  • Strong desire  to nap throughout the day, strange breathing patterns
  • odd movement or other experiences when sleeping, including abnormal or uncomfortable urges to move
  • Unintended alterations to your sleep and wake times
  • Irritation, anxiety, poor work performance, lack of focus, and depression
  • Gaining weight

What leads to sleeping problems?

Sleep disruptions can be brought on by various illnesses, diseases, and disorders. Sleep difficulties frequently originate from an underlying medical condition.

Allergies and breathing issues

Breathing at night might be difficult due to upper respiratory infections, allergies, and colds. Another factor that may interfere with your ability to sleep is nasal breathing problems.

Urinating often

You may wake up in the middle of the night due to nocturia, which is frequent urinating. This syndrome may result from hormonal imbalances and urinary tract conditions.

If bleeding or pain is experienced while frequently urinating, make sure to contact your doctor straight away.

chronic pain

Sleeping can be challenging if you’re in pain all the time. You might even wake up as a result of it. The following are a few of the most typical causes of chronic pain:

  • chronic tiredness syndrome and arthritis
  • fibromyalgia
  • inflammation of the colon
  • chronic headaches
  • ongoing lower back discomfort

In other circumstances, sleep problems may even make chronic pain worse. For instance, medical professionals think that sleep issues may be connected to the onset of fibromyalgia.

Anxiety and stress

Sleep quality is frequently harmed by stress and anxiety. As a result, you could find it challenging to get to sleep or stay asleep. Your sleep may also be disturbed by nightmares, sleep-talking, or sleepwalking.

How are sleeping problems identified?

Before starting a physical examination, your doctor will ask about your symptoms and medical background. They might also request several tests, such as:

In contrast to a home sleep study (HST), which is carried out by the patient and is used to detect sleep apnea, polysomnography (PSG) is a laboratory sleep study that measures oxygen levels, body movements, and brain waves to identify how they interrupt sleep.

Electroencephalogram (EEG): This test evaluates brain electrical activity and looks for any potential issues that might be connected. Polysomnography includes it.

Multiple sleep latency tests (MSLT): This research on daytime naps employs a PSG at night to identify narcolepsy.

When choosing the best course of treatment for sleep disorders, these tests might be quite substantial.

What categories of sleep problems exist?

The many types of sleep problems are numerous. In addition, underlying medical issues might bring some on.


The inability to fall asleep or stay asleep is referred to as insomnia. Jet lag, stress and anxiety, hormones, or digestive issues are some of the possible causes. However, it might also be a sign of another ailment.

Your whole health and quality of life may suffer from insomnia, which may lead to the following:

Depression, trouble focusing, agitation

The effects of weight growth on work or academic performance. The illness is more common in women and older people.

Typically, insomnia is divided into one of three categories:

  • Chronic insomnia occurs when frequently occurs for at least a month.
  • intermittent, recurring episodes of insomnia
  • It is temporary when insomnia only persists for a few nights at a time.

Sleep apnea

Breathing pauses while sleeping is a defining feature of sleep apnea. The body absorbs less oxygen as a result of this significant medical issue. You might wake up in the middle of the night as a result.

The two are as follows:

  • The condition is known as obstructive sleep apnea, in which the airway becomes blocked or too small, and
  • Central sleep apnea disrupts the brain’s communication with the muscles that control your breathing.


A group of sleep disorders known as parasomnias induce strange movements and actions while you sleep. They consist of the following:

  • Sleeptalking and sleepwalking
  • groaning
  • nightmares
  • teeth grinding or jaw clenching in bed


“Sleep attacks” that happen when a person is awake are a hallmark of narcolepsy. This means that you will unexpectedly become drowsy and feel exceedingly exhausted.

The condition can potentially result in sleep paralysis, leaving you physically immobile as soon as you wake up. Narcolepsy can arise independently, but it’s frequently linked to other neurological conditions like multiple sclerosis.

REM Sleep Behaviour Disorder (RBD)

REM sleep behaviour disorder (RBD) is when a person physically and/or vocally acts out their dreams while sleeping during the rapid eye movement (REM) stage. While resting, they are entirely unaware of their actions. RBD is a parasomnia, a sleep disorder characterised by unusual and unpleasant physical events or experiences that interfere with sleep.

REM sleep is characterised by vivid dreams. Every night, they have several REM cycles. The first REM cycle lasts about 10 minutes and begins about 90 minutes after they fall asleep. Each subsequent REM cycle increases in duration. 

How likely is it that someone with a sleep issue would recover?

Because of how bothersome sleep issues may be, you probably want help right away. But, unfortunately, it may take a little longer to settle long-running cases.

However, you can find your way to better sleep if you adhere to your treatment plan and speak with your doctor frequently.


1. What are the main causes of sleep disorders?

  • Physical (such as ulcers)
  • Medical (such as asthma)
  • Psychiatric (such as sadness and anxiety problems)
  • Environmental (such as alcohol) (such as alcohol).

2. What is the best treatment for sleeping disorders?

Follow a sleep schedule. Even on weekends, try to maintain a regular bedtime and wakeup time.

  • Exercise regularly.
  • Examine your prescriptions.
  • Limit or avoid taking naps.
  • Avoid or restrict your intake of coffee, alcohol, and nicotine.
  • Don’t put up with pain.
  • Pre-bedtime drinks and heavy meals should be avoided.

3. What are the 5 major sleep disorders?

  • Insomnia
  • Narcolepsy
  • Restless Legs Syndrome (RLS)
  • Sleep Apnea.
  • REM Sleep Behavior Disorder (RBD)

4. How do you get tested for sleep disorders?

A thorough examination performed to identify sleep abnormalities is termed polysomnography, commonly known as a sleep study. During a polysomnography study, your eye and leg movements, blood oxygen levels, heart rate, respiration, and brain waves are all recorded.

Disclaimer: We recommend consulting a Doctor before taking any action based on the above shared information.



Department of Neurology

Department of Neurology

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