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Sleep disorders


Sleep is essential for good health and can have an impact on hormonal changes, emotions, and body weight. A sleep disorder is related to abnormal patterns of sleep. It can have a negative effect on your health, comfort, and general well-being. Poor sleep can impair your various skills and put you at risk for additional health issues.

Sleep disorders are highly prevalent in our society. Persistent daytime drowsiness, uneven breathing, and increased movement during sleep are all indications of sleep disorders. Sleep disorders can be classified based on behavior, issues with your normal sleep-wake cycles, breathing issues, sleeping difficulties, or how drowsy you feel during the day.


A total of 80 distinct forms of sleep disorders exist. The following are the most common


Insomnia is referred to an inability to fall or stay asleep. Jet lag, worry and stress, hormones, and stomach problems are all possible causes. The condition is particularly common in females and older adults.

It can harm your general health and wellbeing, resulting in:

  •  Depression
  • Irritation and concentration problems
  • Putting on weight
  • Office performance suffers as a result of it.

Insomnia is sadly very prevalent. It affects up to half of all Americans at some point in their lives. When insomnia occurs frequently for one month, it is classified as chronic insomnia. When insomnia occurs only occasionally, it is classified as intermittent insomnia. When sleeplessness only lasts for a few nights at a time, it's called transient insomnia.

Sleep Apnea

Sleep apnea is characterized by breathing interruptions while sleeping. This is a dangerous medical disorder in which the body's oxygen intake is reduced. It may also lead you to awaken at midnight.

There are two varieties of sleep apnea: Obstructive sleep apnea, which occurs when the airway becomes blocked or too thin, and central sleep apnea, which occurs when the brain and the organs that regulate your breathing have a problem communicating.


Parasomnias are a group of sleep disorders characterized by irregular physical movements while sleeping. They are as follows:

  • Nightmares
  • Bedwetting
  • Sleepwalking
  • Talking in sleep
  • Teeth grinding
  • Jaw clenching

Restless Leg Syndrome

Restless Leg Syndrome (RLS) is characterized by an obsessive desire to move one's legs. It may be accompanied by a tingling feeling in the legs. These sensations can occur at any time of day, although they are more common at night.

RLS is frequently linked to health issues such as ADHD or Parkinson's disease, although the specific reason isn't always clear.


Having "Sleep attacks" while you're awake is a cardinal symptom of narcolepsy. This implies that you will become exceedingly fatigued and take naps unexpectedly.

Sleep paralysis, which occurs when you are physically unable to perform after waking up, is another symptom of the illness. Though narcolepsy can arise by itself, it is also linked to a number of neurological diseases, including Alzheimer's disease.


Several things can contribute to sleep disturbances. Regardless of the cause, the ultimate effect of all sleep problems is a disruption or exaggeration of the body's normal cycle of sleeping and daytime alertness. There are many aspects to consider:

  • Health-related issues such as ulcers, asthma, and chronic cough
  • Stress and anxiety disorders
  • Inherited disorders such as narcolepsy
  • Prescription drugs 
  • Environmental causes such as alcohol and caffeine.
  • Working nights (this schedule causes "body clocks" to malfunction.)
  • Sleep disorders affect around half of all individuals over the age of 65. It's unclear if this is a natural feature of aging or a consequence of the medications that many older individuals take.


Insomnia is by far the most prevalent sleep issue, with 30% of individuals reporting some insomnia difficulties over the last year and 10% reporting chronic insomnia. Obstructive sleep apnea is extremely common, with estimates ranging from 9–21 percent in females to 24–31 percent in males.

Sleep issues are likely to worsen. The growing emergence of the "24/7" culture, which involves 24-hour activities and increased evening usage of TV, the internet, and cell phones, may progressively affect normal sleep patterns.

Signs And Symptoms

Sleep problems lead to excessive sleepiness during the day and difficulty falling asleep at night. Some people fall asleep at inconvenient moments, like driving, which can be dangerous.  When sleep disturbances are caused by another ailment, they may differ.

Symptoms of sleep problems are as follows:

  • Daytime tiredness
  • Inability to fall or stay asleep
  • Unusual breathing patterns
  • The extreme urge to nap during the day
  • While going to sleep, you may have odd or uncomfortable cravings to move.
  • While sleeping, you may notice strange movements or have unexpected sensations.
  • Irritability or anxiety affects job or school performance.
  • Stress due to not feeling fresh after waking up.


Your doctor will ask you certain questions to diagnose your condition. These questions include:

  • How long do you sleep each night?
  • Do you twist and turn at night?
  • Do you ever take a nap anytime?
  • Do you have a night job?
  • How tired do you feel when you wake up?
  • How long does it usually take you to drift off to sleep?
  • Do you need to wake up multiple times at night?

 Your doctor will begin by performing a physical examination and taking notes on your health history. They can also request a variety of tests, such as:


This is a laboratory sleep method of comparing oxygen content, body movements, and electrical impulses to see how they interrupt sleep vs. a home sleep study that can be used to detect sleep apnea.

Electroencephalogram (EEG)

This test evaluates the brain’s electrical activity and identifies any significant conflicts. It's also a polysomnography study.

The multiple sleep latency test is a daytime sleep study performed in combination with a nighttime PSG to confirm narcolepsy. These evaluations can be quite helpful in finding the best plan of care for sleep problems.

Differential Diagnosis

Some other disorders can also present like sleep disorders like;


Your healthcare provider may recommend some of the drugs and supplements listed below:

  • Medication to help you sleep better
  • Medicines to treat any underlying medical conditions.
  • Surgery or a breathing device 
  • Supplements containing melatonin
  • Medication for allergies or the cold
  • Surgery or a breathing device 
  • A mouth guard (for teeth grinding)
  • Certain combinations of zolpidem, zaleplon, eszopiclone, ramelteon, lamborexant, or doxepin may be helpful in certain cases of insomnia.
  • Gabapentin, enacarbil, or pregabalin can be used to treat restless legs syndrome.
  • Modafinil, armodafinil, pitolisant, and solriamfetol are some of the stimulant drugs used to treat narcolepsy.


The outlook varies considerably based on the source of insomnia or even other sleep disturbance. For example, by treating apnea caused by OSA, insomnia also disappears, but insomnia caused by refractory severe depression remains refractory until the depression is successfully treated.

Lifestyle Modifications

Lifestyle changes, especially when combined with medical therapy, can significantly improve sleep quality. You might want to think about:

  • Increasing the amount of veggies and seafood in your diet, as well as lowering your added sugars
  • Walking and stretching can help relieve emotional distress.
  • Establishing and maintaining a consistent sleeping routine
  • Before bedtime, feed on small, low-carbohydrate meals.
  • Keeping a healthy weight per your doctor's advice
  • Before actually going to bed, drink minimal water so that you don't need to wake up to pass urine.
  • Caffeine use should be limited, specifically in the late evening hours.
  • Reducing cigarette and alcohol consumption can help you sleep better.
  • Lying in bed and getting up around the same time each day can help enhance the quality of your sleep. While it may be tempting to sleep late on Saturdays, this might make it increasingly challenging to get up in the morning.

Our clinical experts continually monitor the health and medical content posted on CURA4U, and we update our blogs and articles when new information becomes available. Last reviewed by Dr.Saad Zia on May 09, 2023.


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