Most common sleep disorders

Most common sleep disorders

Sleep disorders occur in 50% of adults and children, with peak onset from age 20 to 35. They typically result from a variety of physiological, psychological, and environmental factors.

The most common type of sleep disorder is insomnia, or difficulty sleeping.

Another type of sleep disorder is narcolepsy, a condition that causes overwhelming daytime drowsiness.

Sleep apnea is a potentially serious disorder in which breathing repeatedly stops and starts throughout the night.

In this article, we will discuss these sleep disorders and more. So if you wish to learn more, just keep on reading.

What are sleep disorders?

Sleep disorders (also known as sleep-wake disorders) are characterized by issues with the quantity, quality, and timing of sleep, which can cause daily distress and impairment in functioning as a result. Sleep-wake disorders frequently occur in conjunction with physical diseases or other mental health conditions, such as depression, anxiety, or cognitive difficulties, and are difficult to diagnose.

A variety of sleep-wake disorders exist, with insomnia being the most frequent of these conditions. The following are examples of sleep-wake disorders: obstructive sleep apnea, parasomnias, narcolepsy, and restless leg syndrome.

It has been shown that sleep issues are associated with both physical and mental problems. Sleep issues can both contribute to and exacerbate mental health conditions, and they can also be a symptom of other mental health conditions, according to the National Sleep Foundation.

How common are sleep disorders?

Sleep disorders are extremely common in the general population, but because they can be difficult to diagnose and treat, they often go undiagnosed or untreated.

The most common sleep disorder is insomnia. As many as 70% of adults will experience insomnia at some time throughout their lives. Estimates suggest that 5%-15% of adults suffer from chronic insomnia and which occurs for a period ranging from 30 days or longer and interferes with daily functioning.

Another type of sleep disorder is narcolepsy, a condition that causes overwhelming daytime drowsiness. About 15%-25% of the population will experience a narcoleptic episode at some point in their lives, but only about one in every 2,000 people is affected by narcolepsy to such an extent that they seek medical assistance.

Sleep apnea is a potentially serious disorder in which breathing repeatedly stops and starts throughout the night. Approximately 4%-6% of adults are estimated to suffer from obstructive sleep apnoea, while 2%-3% of all children may experience this disorder.

It is estimated that 5%-7% of adults are affected by restless leg syndrome (RLS). About 1%-3% of children are also thought to suffer from this condition.

What happens when a person doesn’t get enough sleep?

A number of research studies have shown that poor sleep is closely linked with depression and other forms of mental illness, although it is unclear whether this link exists because insufficient sleeping patterns cause mental health issues or whether both problems stem from an underlying cause.

One recent study found that children and adolescents who reported sleeping less than six hours a night were more likely to be diagnosed with depression or suffer from depressive symptoms five years later.

It is not yet clear whether poor sleep patterns cause depression and other forms of mental illness, whether mental health problems make it hard for people to sleep well, or whether some unknown factor underlies the connection between poor sleep and psychiatric difficulties.

The findings of another study indicate that the link between poor sleeping patterns and mood disorders such as major depressive disorder (MDD) may be bidirectional: evidence suggests that both conditions exacerbate similar negative thinking patterns which in turn lead to worsening psychological wellbeing.

Symptoms sleep disorders

Sleep disorders are characterized by symptoms such as being excessively sleepy throughout the day and having difficulty falling asleep at night. Some people may find themselves falling asleep at inconvenient moments, such as while driving. While trying to fall asleep, you may notice other symptoms such as breathing in an irregular manner or having an uncomfortable impulse to shift about. It is also possible to have unusual or irritating motions or feelings when sleeping. In addition to having an inconsistent sleep and wake cycle, people who suffer from sleep disorders may experience nightmares.

Causes sleep disorders

It is possible to have sleep disturbances due to a variety of medical ailments, diseases, and disorders. The majority of the time, sleep disturbances emerge as a result of an underlying medical condition.

  1. Allergies and respiratory issues: A variety of conditions such as allergies, colds, and upper respiratory infections can make it difficult to breathe at night. The inability to breathe through your nose can also result in sleep disturbances and disturbances.
  2. Urination on a regular basis: Nocturia, also known as frequent urination, can cause you to wake up in the middle of the night, making it difficult to sleep. Increased risk of developing this ailment may be associated with hormonal imbalances and diseases of the urinary system.
  3. Pain that lasts for a long period of time: It can be tough to fall asleep when you are in constant agony. It may even cause you to awaken after you have fallen asleep. Chronic pain can be caused by a variety of factors, some of which are as follows: Ankylosing Spondylitis Chronic Fatigue Syndrome, fibromyalgia, diarrhea due to inflammation of the bowels, headaches that don’t go away, and lower back discomfort that doesn’t go away.
  4. Anxiety and stress: Stress and anxiety frequently have a negative impact on the quality of one’s sleep. Getting to sleep and staying asleep can be challenging for you. Nightmares, sleep talking, and sleepwalking are all possible causes of sleep disruption.
See also  Central sleep apnea

What causes sleep disorders?

Given that sleep is a complex biological phenomenon, it is no surprise that many things can go wrong with its mechanism. In some cases, the cause of a sleep disorder is obvious: for example, if you injure your leg or become ill then you may start having trouble sleeping due to the pain.

In other cases, the exact causes are harder to determine. Causes of sleep disorders range from external factors such as noise levels and disruptive lighting conditions in your home environment to more internal factors such as stress and illness.

Many people experience some form of sleep disturbance on occasion, for example when they are stressed or ill. These periods of poor sleeping habits are usually temporary and the problems ease if the underlying cause is treated or goes away. This type of disrupted sleep is not considered a sleep disorder because it does not last long enough to have a significant effect on your general wellbeing.

People who suffer from chronic difficulties in getting to sleep at night may have an actual sleeping disorder that requires treatment by a doctor or other medical professional. People with more acute conditions that affect their ability to get restorative sleep may also require medical attention; these problems can only be determined after you visit a doctor and go through routine diagnostic tests such as blood tests.

In some cases, people with depression or other psychiatric conditions may be prescribed medications that cause them to have unusual feelings in their bodies when they fall asleep or wake up from sleep. Some antipsychotic drugs used to treat schizophrenia and similar conditions carry this side effect.

Sleep disorders can also affect people who do not otherwise show signs of depression. According to the National Institutes of Health in the United States, about four percent of Americans have chronic insomnia – that is, they have experienced problems sleeping for at least three nights per week during each month for a period of at least three months.

Insomnia may be caused by external factors such as an uncomfortable or noisy home environment or being exposed to too much light when you are trying to sleep.

Insomnia can also occur if your daily sleep cycle has been significantly disrupted due to travel across multiple time zones or other major lifestyle changes. This causes difficulty adjusting back into a normal rhythm once you return home after being away.

If you have insomnia then restful slumber will probably not be achieved until the underlying cause of poor sleep habits is treated.

Types of sleep disorders are there

types of sleep disorders


Insomnia is one of the most common sleep disorders. The term insomnia is used to describe a person’s difficulty in sleep initiation or sleep maintenance, with relative preservation of other aspects of their usual sleeping patterns.

The most common types are:

  1. Transient – Problems sleeping for up to three days that can be caused by stress, jet lag, or unhealthy sleeping habits.
  2. Short-term – Difficulty sleeping for one to three weeks due to stress, jet lag, or unhealthy sleeping habits.
  3. Chronic – Sleeping problems lasting longer than three weeks without any obvious explanation. Insomnia can also occur as a side effect of medication use or alcoholism. It may also be secondary to another medical problem such as depression, chronic pain, or heart disease

Common symptoms of insomnia

The symptoms of insomnia include:

  • – Difficulty falling asleep
  • – Waking up during the night and having difficulty going back to sleep
  • – Waking up too early in the morning, even when you have gone to bed at a reasonable hour for your age and stage of life.
  • – Feeling tired, fatigued, or sleepy during the day
  • – Problems concentrating or decreased alertness due to lack of sleep

Common treatment types for insomnia

Treatment for insomnia may include:

  • Modification of sleep schedule – Avoid caffeine, nicotine, and alcohol near bedtime. Your doctor or pharmacist can provide a list of drugs that should be avoided before bedtime.
  • Relaxation techniques such as deep breathing exercises and meditation to reduce stress
  • Dietary changes such as avoiding large meals within two hours of going to bed. Reducing the amount of food consumed later in the evening can also help people who suffer from gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD).
  • Exercise – Moderate exercise may improve sleep by increasing the amount of time you spend in deep sleep and the number of times that you awaken during the night
  • Stress management – Relaxation techniques such as meditation, yoga, massage therapy, etc., can help reduce stress and its associated symptoms
  • Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT) helps treat insomnia by teaching people how to change negative thinking patterns and behaviors that make it hard for them to fall asleep or stay asleep at night.
See also  Sleep disorder in children

Sleep apnea

Sleep apnea is a condition characterized by pauses in breathing or periods of shallow breathing during sleep. There are two types – obstructive and central:

  • Obstructive sleep apnea (OSA): This type is the most common and occurs when your throat muscles intermittently relax and block your airway during sleep. Your airway may be blocked completely several times during the night, sometimes for up to a minute or more at a time. This causes low oxygen levels and loud snoring, which can prevent you from getting restful, quality sleep.
  • Central sleep apnea (CSA): This type is far less common than OSA and occurs when your brain temporarily stops sending signals to the muscles that control breathing. These pauses last for a few seconds and may occur up to 30 times an hour. This type of apnea is often seen in people with heart failure, stroke, or other conditions that affect the central nervous system.

Common symptoms of sleep apnea

The symptoms of sleep apnea include:

  • Loud snoring interrupted by periods of silence lasting 10 seconds or more
  • Shortness of breath, gasping for air, or choking sounds during the pauses in breathing
  • Pauses in breathing that are followed by a loud snort or gasp as you begin breathing again
  • Excessive daytime sleepiness
  • Morning headaches and dry mouth upon waking up
  • Irritability, depression, problems concentrating, impaired memory
  • Heart disease, high blood pressure, stroke, impotence, weight gain
  • Mood changes and behavior problems in children, such as hyperactivity and irritability

Common treatment types for sleep apnea

Treatment for sleep apnea may include:

  • Continuous positive airway pressure (CPAP). This is the most common treatment. CPAP is a device that blows air into your throat at night while you are sleeping on a specially designed mask.
  • Breathing aids – These devices help decrease snoring by making it easier to breathe, particularly during exhalation. There are several types on the market and one type of nasal dilator strip has been shown to improve breathing significantly for some patients. You can also purchase anti-snore pillows that are made with special materials or have unique shapes to keep your jaw in place as you sleep.
  • Lifestyle changes – Changes in your habits will help reduce the risk of apnea, such as losing weight if you are overweight, quitting smoking, avoiding sedatives and tranquilizers that slow down breathing during sleep, exercising regularly to improve muscle tone in your throat, or sleeping on your side rather than on your back. Your doctor may also recommend strategies for having a good night’s rest, including sticking to a regular sleep schedule, limiting caffeine intake before bedtime, and avoiding large meals at night.
  • Oral appliances – These devices work by holding the lower jaw slightly forward so the airway is kept open while you are asleep. A dentist or orthodontist attaches these appliances to your teeth so you can wear them while you sleep.
  • Surgery – Surgery is a last-resort option for people with severe cases of sleep apnea that did not improve even after trying other treatments. It may involve the removal of tissue from the inside of the throat or nose. Sometimes it also involves shifting the jaw forward with the help of your muscles, which makes it easier for your airway to remain open while you are asleep.

Restless legs syndrome (RLS)

Restless leg syndrome is a condition that causes an urge to move your legs. You may also experience uncomfortable sensations in your legs when at rest, such as burning, creeping, itching, pulling, or tugging. These symptoms are typically most severe when you’re resting, particularly when lying down or sitting.

The exact cause of restless leg syndrome isn’t known. However, doctors believe genetics may play a role since the condition tends to run in families. Experts think certain factors contribute to symptoms in people with restless leg syndrome including:

  • Low levels of iron in the blood
  • Genetic conditions that cause nerve damage throughout the body (peripheral neuropathy)
  • Exposure to toxins such as pesticides, lead, and certain medications
  • Other health conditions such as arthritis, kidney disease, thyroid problems, or Parkinson’s disease
  • Insufficient amounts of certain vitamins and minerals in the body

Common symptoms of restless legs syndrome

Symptoms of restless leg syndrome include a strong urge to move your legs, particularly in the evening when you’re trying to relax or go to sleep, and unpleasant sensations in your legs.

Symptoms are usually worse when at rest, but may also occur during light activity such as reading or watching TV.

Symptoms can be mild or severe ranging from irritating to waking you up from sleep. Some people describe it as a crawling sensation under their skin. Others feel like their leg is falling asleep and then snapping awake with pain.

Common treatment types for restless legs syndrome

Generally, treatment for restless legs syndrome reduces symptoms by improving nighttime circulation in your legs. Although there is no cure for the condition, most people with restlessness leg syndrome experience significant relief from their symptoms.

Restless leg syndrome may be treated with a medication called dopamine agonists. This medicine works by mimicking a chemical called dopamine, which is found in your brain and helps control muscle movement. You take this drug before bedtime to improve sleep quality and reduce the discomfort of restless legs.

See also  Menopause and insomnia

In some cases, medications used to treat depression can help relieve involuntary movements associated with restless leg syndrome. In rare cases, doctors prescribe anti-anxiety medication or painkillers that also have sedating effects to provide relief.


experience excessive daytime sleepiness

Narcolepsy is a brain disorder that makes people irresistibly sleepy during the daytime. It occurs when your brain doesn’t properly regulate sleep-wake cycles, causing you to fall asleep at inappropriate times or experience excessive sleepiness. The onset of narcolepsy often occurs in the teens and twenties.

People with narcolepsy may experience “sleep attacks” – overwhelming feelings of sleepiness out of nowhere, which can lead to loss of concentration, memory lapses, impaired thinking and problem-solving skills, or lack of energy. These sudden sleep episodes can last from seconds to minutes — or even up to an hour in severe cases.

Common symptoms of narcolepsy

Symptoms of narcolepsy include excessive daytime sleepiness and episodes of falling asleep during normal situations. People with narcolepsy may also experience nighttime paralysis, hallucinations upon waking or falling asleep, and automatic behaviors that occur when in a dream-like state (such as driving a car).

Common treatment types for narcolepsy

Narcolepsy is treated by using stimulants to help you stay awake during the day and antidepressants to prevent nighttime sleep problems. The medications don’t cure narcolepsy, but they can make it more manageable by reducing symptoms and strengthening muscles and memory during waking hours. Treatments for narcolepsy generally work best when combined with lifestyle changes such as getting enough sleep every night and practicing good sleep habits (like avoiding caffeine).

Diagnosis and tests

sleep study

To detect sleep disorders, doctors may use a variety of tests, including a physical exam and a review of medical history.

During a physical exam, a doctor can listen to your heart and lungs to check for other possible problems that could be affecting your sleep. He or she can also examine your head, neck, and torso for swollen glands or signs of other health conditions that could be causing your symptoms. In women, doctors will check for high blood pressure during the pelvic exam, which could indicate the presence of an underlying condition such as heart disease or diabetes.

An overnight sleep test is used to diagnose narcolepsy and other sleep disorders that cause excessive daytime sleepiness by measuring brain waves during a period of time spent sleeping at night.

What are some tips for getting a good night’s sleep?

  • It is important to maintain a regular sleep schedule. Sticking to the same bedtime and wake time, even on weekends, can help you fall asleep and wake up more easily at the desired times.
  • Try to only use your bed for sleeping or sex (not as an office or TV room). This can help set cues in your mind that signal it’s time to sleep.
  • Keep your bedroom cool, dark, and comfortable.
  • Make your bedtime routine relaxing and enjoyable, whether that means taking a bubble bath or meditating before bed. Try to avoid stressful activities or arguments in the hours leading up to bedtime.
  • Avoid napping during the day, especially after 3 pm. If you need a nap, make it short (around 20 minutes) and set an alarm clock so you don’t sleep too long. Naps can make it harder to fall asleep later at night.
  • Limit caffeine consumption throughout the day, avoiding caffeinated beverages after lunchtime if possible; also limit alcohol consumption near bedtime as this may disrupt rest.


When your folks are suffering from a sleep issue, it can be a terrifying and confusing experience for them. They may become irritated, fatigued, and lonely as a result of their sleep issue. Their bed partner may become enraged with them because they are unable to comprehend what is happening to their loved ones.

It is possible that their home, job, and social life would suffer as a result. As you’ve read above, the good news is that there is help and treatment available for those who need it.


What are the 7 sleeping disorders?

  • Insomnia
  • Sleep Apnea
  • Narcolepsy
  • Restless Leg Syndrome (RLS)
  • Parasomnias
  • REM Sleep Behavior Disorder
  • Non-24-Hour Sleep-Wake Disorder

What is the most common sleep problem?

The most common sleep problem is insomnia. It is a condition in which a person has trouble sleeping at night, cannot get enough sleep, or wakes up frequently during the night and can’t get back to sleep.

How can you tell if you have a sleeping disorder?

Extreme daytime sleepiness, abnormal breathing patterns, and increased activity during sleep are just a few of the signs and symptoms associated with sleep disorders. An inconsistent sleep and wake cycle, as well as difficulties falling asleep, are other signs and symptoms to look out for.

What is the number one sleep disorder among adults?

Insomnia, the most frequent type of sleep disorder, is characterized by difficulty falling asleep or remaining asleep. Approximately one-third of adults have some insomnia symptoms, 10-15 percent indicate issues with daytime functioning, and 6-10 percent have symptoms severe enough to fulfill the criteria for insomnia disorder.

What is the least common sleep disorder?

Klein-Levin Syndrome (KLS), also known as “Sleeping Beauty Syndrome,” is a rare sleep disorder characterized by recurrent episodes of hypersomnia, during which the patient sleeps for prolonged periods of time (up to 20 hours per day).

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