Common sleep disorders: symptoms, causes and treatment (2023)


What are sleep disorders?

Sleep disorders are conditions that interrupt your sleep or prevent you from getting restful sleep and, as a result, can cause daytime sleepiness and other symptoms. Everyone can have trouble sleeping from time to time. However, you may have a sleep disorder if:

  • He regularly has trouble sleeping.
  • You often feel tired during the day even though you got at least seven hours of sleep the night before.
  • You have a reduced or impaired ability to perform regular activities during the day.

There are more than 100 million Americans of all ages who don't get enough sleep. Sleep is very important. Not getting enough sleep can have unpleasant consequences on school and work performance, interpersonal relationships, health and safety.

How common are sleep disorders?

About 70 million people in the United States suffer from sleep disorders.

How many types of sleep disorders are there?

There are approximately 80 different types of sleep disorders. The best are:

  • Insomnia.
  • Sleep apnea.
  • Restless Leg Syndrome.
  • Narcolepsy.

How much sleep is needed?

Experts generally recommend that adults get at least seven to nine hours of sleep a night, although some people need more and others less.

A recent National Sleep Foundation Sleep in America survey found that adults (ages 18-54) get an average of 6.4 hours of sleep per night on weekdays and 7.7 hours on weekends. Research has shown a downward trend in sleep time in recent years. People who sleep fewer hours tend to use the Internet at night or bring work home from the office.

The National Sleep Foundation also reported that older adults (ages 55-84) get an average of seven hours of sleep on weekdays and 7.1 hours on weekends. Sleep is often disturbed by the need to go to the bathroom and by physical pain or discomfort in the elderly.

A downward trend in sleep time was also observed in children. The ideal time to sleep varies according to age. Previous Sleep in America research found a discrepancy between recommended and actual sleep time in children, with actual sleep time being 1.5 to two hours less than recommended. Caffeine consumption caused a loss of three to five hours of sleep, and having a television in the bedroom contributed to a loss of two hours of sleep per week in children.

(Video) Common Sleep Disorders: Symptoms, Causes & Treatment

What happens when a person does not get enough sleep?

Not getting the right amount or quality of sleep leads to more than just feeling tired. Sleepiness interferes with cognitive function, which can lead to learning difficulties in children, memory impairment in people of all ages, personality changes, anddepression.

Sleep-deprived people have difficulty making decisions, irritability, performance problems, and slower reaction times, putting them at risk for car and workplace accidents. Loss of sleep can also negatively affect life, contributing to the development ofobesity,diabetesand heart disease.

Who is most likely to have a sleep disorder?

Disorders associated with daytime sleepiness affect women more than men.

Symptoms and Causes

What causes sleep disorders?

Sleep problems can be caused by many factors. While the causes may differ, the end result of all sleep disorders is that the body's natural cycle of daytime sleep and wakefulness is disrupted or exaggerated. Eight factors include:

  • Physical (such as ulcers).
  • doctor (likeasma).
  • psychiatric (likedepressionmianxiety disorders).
  • Environmental (such as alcohol).
  • Work the night shift (this work schedule upsets the "biological clocks").
  • Genetics (narcolepsy is genetic).
  • Medications (some interfere with sleep).
  • Aging (About half of all adults over the age of 65 have some type of sleep disorder. It is not clear if this is a normal part of aging or the result of medications that older people frequently use.)

What are the symptoms of sleep disorders?

You may have a sleep disorder if you have one or more of the following symptoms. You:

  • Falling asleep while driving?
  • Do you have difficulty staying awake when you are inactive, such as watching TV or reading?
  • Do you have trouble paying attention or concentrating at work, school, or at home?
  • Do you have performance problems at work or school?
  • Do you often hear from others that you seem sleepy?
  • Do you have problems with your memory?
  • Do you have slow responses?
  • Do you have difficulty managing your emotions?
  • Do you need to take naps almost every day?

What is insomnia?

Insomnia is a sleep disorder in which people have difficulty falling asleep or staying asleep. People with insomnia have one or more of the following symptoms:

  • Difficulty getting to sleep.
  • Waking up frequently during the night and having trouble going back to sleep.
  • Waking up very early in the morning.
  • Having unrefreshing sleep.
  • Having at least one daytime problem such as tiredness, drowsiness, mood problems, concentration, accidents at work or behind the wheel, etc. due to lack of sleep.

Insomnia varies in how long it lasts and how often it occurs. Around 50% of adults experience occasional episodes of insomnia and one in 10 suffers from chronic insomnia. Insomnia can occur on its own or it can be associated with medical or psychiatric conditions. Insomnia can be short-term (acute or adjustment insomnia) or it can last a long time(chronic insomnia).It can also come and go, with periods of time when the person does not have trouble sleeping. Acute or adjustment insomnia can last from one night to a few weeks. Insomnia is called chronic when a person has insomnia at least three nights a week for a month or more.

short term or acuteinsomniaIt can be caused by life stresses (such as job loss or change, death of a loved one, or moving), illness, or environmental factors such as light, noise, or extreme temperatures.

(Video) Insomnia - causes, symptoms, diagnosis, treatment & pathology

Chronic or long-term insomnia (insomnia that occurs at least three nights a week for at least three months or longer) can be caused by factors such as depression, chronic stress, and nighttime pain or discomfort.

A common cause of chronic insomnia is a conditioned emotional response. Thoughts about the sleep problem (eg, "What if I don't sleep tonight?") and behaviors that develop around the sleep problem (eg, sleeping and napping, ruminating on bed) tend to prolong the symptoms of the sleep disorder.

What is sleep apnea?

Sleep apnea is a potentially serious sleep disorder that occurs when a person's breathing is interrupted during sleep. People with untreated sleep apnea repeatedly stop breathing during sleep.

There are two types of sleep apnea: obstructive and central.

  • Obstructive Sleep Apnea (OSA)is the more common of the two. It is caused by a blockage of the airway, usually when the soft tissue in the back of the throat collapses during sleep. OSA symptoms can include snoring, daytime sleepiness, fatigue, restlessness during sleep, shortness of breath during sleep, and difficulty concentrating.
  • Insidecentral sleep apnea (CSA),the airways are not blocked, but the brain cannot tell the body to breathe. This type is called central apnea because it is related to the function of the central nervous system. People with CSA may have shortness of breath, but most report recurrent awakenings during the night.

What is restless legs syndrome?

Restless Legs Syndrome (RLS) is a sleep disorder that causes an intense and often overwhelming urge to move your legs. This sensation is brought on by rest, such as lying in bed, sitting for long periods, such as while driving or at the theater. RLS usually occurs at night, making it difficult to fall asleep and stay asleep. It may be associated with daytime sleepiness, irritability, and concentration problems. People with RLS often want to walk and swing their legs to help alleviate the uncomfortable feeling.

What is narcolepsy?

Narcolepsy is a neurological disorder of sleep regulation that affects control of sleep and wakefulness. People with narcolepsy experience excessive daytime sleepiness and intermittent, uncontrollable episodes of falling asleep during the day. These sudden sleep attacks can occur during any type of activity at any time of the day. Some patients with narcolepsy experience sudden muscle weakness with laughter or other emotions.

Narcolepsy usually begins between the ages of 15 and 25, but it can manifest at any age. In many cases, narcolepsy goes undiagnosed and therefore untreated.

Diagnosis and Tests

How are sleep disorders diagnosed?

If you suspect you may have a sleep disorder, discuss your symptoms with your doctor. He or she can perform a physical exam and help you identify any trouble sleeping. Keeping a sleep diary for two weeks may be helpful to your doctor. Some illnesses can cause sleep disturbances, so your doctor may order tests to rule out other conditions.

(Video) Insomnia symptoms, causes , treatment/ /What is insomnia / sleep disorder/ sleep disorder treatment

If your doctor suspects that you have a sleep disorder, you may be referred to a sleep disorder clinic. A sleep specialist will review his symptoms and may suggest that he have a sleep study.

A sleep study or polysomnography (PSG) is a test that electronically transmits and records specific physical activities while you sleep. A home sleep study (sleep apnea home test) can be performed for select patients. The recordings are converted into data that a qualified healthcare professional analyzes to determine whether or not you have a sleep disorder.

To determine if you have a sleep disorder, it is important to pay attention to your sleep habits by keeping a sleep diary and discussing your sleep patterns and characteristics with your doctor. Many common sleep problems can be treated with behavioral treatments and increased attention to proper sleep hygiene. Consult your doctor if you have any concerns about your sleep patterns.

What questions might my doctor ask to diagnose a sleep disorder?

  • How many hours do you sleep at nigth?
  • Do you toss and turn while you sleep?
  • Do you take naps?
  • How long does it take you to fall asleep?
  • Do you wake up in the middle of the night?
  • Do you work the night shift?
  • How sleepy do you feel during the day?

Management and Treatment

How are sleep disorders treated?

There are a variety of treatments recommended by health professionals:

  • Tip: Some sleep experts recommend cognitive behavioral therapy. This tip helps you “recognize, challenge, and change your stressful thoughts” that can keep you up at night.
  • Medications and/or supplements.
  • Practice sleep hygiene, such as keeping a regular sleep schedule.
  • Exercise regularly.
  • Minimize noise.
  • Minimize a light.
  • Control the temperature to make you feel comfortable.

Your doctor will recommend treatments based on your specific situation.

WhatmedicinesCan it help with sleep disorders?

Your doctor may recommend some of the following medications and supplements:

  • Sleeping pills may be helpful in some cases of insomnia, such as melatonin, zolpidem, zaleplon, eszopiclone, ramelteon, suvorexant, lamborexant, or doxepin.
  • Restless legs syndrome can be treated with gabapentin, gabapentin, enacarbil, or pregabalin.
  • Narcolepsy can be treated with various stimulants or drugs that promote arousal, such as modafinil, armodafinil, pitolisant, and solriamfetol.

Should I see a specialist?

Ask your doctor for a referral to a sleep specialist, if necessary.

What are some tips for a good night's sleep?

  • Create an ideal sleeping environment.making sure your bedroom is comfortable, cool, quiet and dark. If noise is keeping you awake, try using background sounds like "white noise" or earplugs. If light interferes with your sleep, try a sleep mask or blackout curtains.
  • Think positive.Avoid going to bed with a negative mindset, such as "If I don't get enough sleep tonight, how am I going to get through tomorrow?"
  • Avoid using your bed for anything other than sleeping and having sex.Don't watch TV, eat, work, or use computers in your bedroom.
  • Try to clear your mind before going to bed.write things down or make a to-do list early in the evening. This is helpful if you tend to worry and think a lot in bed at night.
  • Establish a regular routine to go to bed and relax.every night taking a hot bath, listening to soft music or reading. Try relaxation exercises, meditation, biofeedback, or hypnosis. Wake up at the same time every morning, including days off and vacations.
  • Stop looking at the clock.Turn the clock and just use the alarm to wake you up. Leave the bedroom if you can't fall asleep within 20 minutes. Read or participate in a relaxing activity in another room.
  • Avoid naps.If you are very sleepy, take a nap. But limit naps to less than 30 minutes and no later than 3:00 p.m. m.
  • avoid stimulants(coffee, tea, soda/cola, cocoa and chocolate) and large meals for at least four hours before going to bed. Light carbohydrate snacks, such as milk, yogurt, or crackers, may help you fall asleep more easily.
  • Avoid alcohol and tobaccofor at least four hours before bedtime and throughout the night.
  • Practice exercises regularly,but not within four hours of bedtime if you have trouble sleeping.


What foods or drinks should I eat or avoid to reduce the risk of sleep disorders?

Avoid the following:

  • Caffeinated drinks like soda and coffee in the late afternoon or evening.
  • Diet pills.
  • decongestants.
  • Antidepressants (these can suppress REM sleep, but never stop antidepressants without your doctor's permission).
  • Tobacco.
  • Alcohol.
(Video) REM Sleep Disorder - Causes, Symptoms, and Treatment

Outlook / Forecast

How long will I have a sleep disorder?

Times vary and also depend on the type of sleep disorder you have. Discuss a schedule with your doctor, taking into account the treatments.

living with

When should I see my doctor?

Consult a health professional about your sleep if it interferes with your quality of life.

What questions should I ask my doctor about sleep disorders?

  • What kind of sleep disorder do I have?
  • How serious is my sleep disorder?
  • Do you think my sleep disorder will go away on its own or will I need treatment?
  • How can I improve my sleep hygiene?
  • Should I see a specialist?
  • Do I need a referral to see a specialist?
  • Do you recommend any medications to help with my sleep disorder?
  • How often do I have to see you again?
  • Are there medications I should take?
  • Are there medications I should stop taking?

A note from the Cleveland Clinic

Sleep disorders may not be life-threatening, but they affect your quality of life so often and severely that they can affect your thinking, your weight, your school/work performance, your mental health, and your overall physical health. The most common, such as narcolepsy, insomnia, restless legs syndrome, and sleep apnea, prevent you from getting the deep, long sleep you need to function at your best.

If you have trouble sleeping, don't hesitate to see your doctor. Your health and, consequently, your quality of life depend on good sleep. Practice good sleep hygiene and follow your doctor's instructions.


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