10 Different types of sleep disorders

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A lot of medical conditions could lead to sleep disruption or too much daytime sleepiness which are known as sleep disorders. Sleep disorders will prevent you from having enough sleep.

If you are wondering how many sleep disorders are there?

This answer is yours: there are about 80 various types of sleep disorders and close to 70 million U.S citizens are suffering from them. All sleep disorders are manageable, and others are treatable.

In this article, you will get to know common and essential types of sleep disorders such as sleep apnea, insomnia, narcolepsy, circadian disorders, and others. They could occur as a result of psychological or physical factors.

Sleep Apnea

Sleep Apnea

Sleep apnea definition psychology is common daily language. However, sleep apnea is a chronic condition that will make you stop repeatedly breathing when you are sleeping. These occurrences take up to 10 seconds and make your oxygen levels in the blood to decrease or wake you from your night rest. Upper airway obstruction will cause obstructive sleep apnea. Another cause is the failure to initiate breathing by the brain which causes the central sleep apnea

It could cause or boost the development of other medical conditions such as heart failure, hypertension, and diabetes culminating to fatal consequences such as heart attack, stroke, heart failure, and sudden death. But lucky for you, there are effective treatments for this disorder.



When you have insomnia, you are unable to get enough sleep for full rest, and you have difficulty staying or falling asleep. If you are taking over 20 or 30 minutes to fall asleep or get back to sleep during night times, then you might have insomnia.

When this condition happens more than three nights every week and lasts for three months, then you can describe it as chronic insomnia. This disorder is common, affects approximately 10% of grownups and has a plethora of causes.

Acute insomnia is another type of insomnia that affects you for less than ninety days. It is a rare type which is genetic and could be fatal. Effective treatments are available, and they include limited sleeping pill use and CBTI- cognitive behavioral therapy for insomnia.



This condition is one of the different sleep orders, and it features abnormal sleep habits. In the case of parasomnia, you experience semi-purposeful, unconscious complex and objective-oriented behaviors which are of importance or meaning to you. 

These behaviors could include sleepwalking, sleep terrors, sleep sex, and sleep eating, REM (Rapid Eye Movement) disorder. The cause of this condition is other sleep disorders like sleep apnea. To treat this, you could include safety precautions and medicinal use such as clonazepam and melatonin.



The Narcolepsy is also one of the different types of sleep disorders, and it makes you experience the following symptoms: cataplexy, sleep paralysis, hypnagogic hallucinations, and too much daytime sleepiness. The sleepiness could be profound and might make you start sleeping in inappropriate situations.

Cataplexy makes you lose your muscle tone as a response to the emotional stimulus like laughter or surprise causing your knees to buckle. Sleep paralysis is when you can’t move your body while you are awake, especially when waking up or falling asleep.

With hypnagogic hallucinations, you will experience dream-like vivid visual, tactile or auditory sensations that happen when you are asleep. Just like the other types of sleep disorders, Narcolepsy is treatable with medications like Xyrem (sodium oxybate), antidepressants and stimulants.

Circadian disorders

Circadian rhythm sleep disorder is a condition which happens when your interior biological clock is not in sync with the exterior time cues like the natural light-dark cycle. This condition could happen in complete blindness, with jet lag or shift work or due to delayed or advanced sleep phase syndrome.

The mismatch could culminate into excessive sleepiness (hypersomnia) during inappropriate moments. You can treat this condition using a regular schedule of sleep-wake, melatonin or correctly timed exposure to light.

RLS (Restless Legs Syndrome)

Restless Legs Syndrome

Among various types of sleep disorders is RLS. If you are a victim of the RLS, you will experience an intense, mostly irresistible urge for moving your legs. This sensation is due to resting techniques such as lying down in your bed or sitting for long while driving or in a theatre. This condition could be associated with issues such as concentration, irritability and daytime sleepiness. In most cases, if you have RLS, you would want to move around and shake your legs to assist in relieving the uncomfortable feeling. 

You could experience sensations like burning or tingling which occur when you are resting or at night. These sensations make it difficult to sleep. RLS has a lot of causes like iron deficiency, obesity, and pregnancy. Treatments for this condition include medications and iron replacement.

CFS (Chronic Fatigue Syndrome)

To add to the list of types of sleep disorders is CFS. With this condition, you will experience prolonged unexplained fatigue that rest cannot improve and mental and physical activity could worsen this condition. You will experience incapacitating and severe fatigue which leads to a reduction in average daily operations. You may have to adapt to save energy during extreme fatigue.



Myoclonus causes twitching of muscles when you are asleep. The abrupt twitch could startle you out of your sleep. The kicking may last for a few minutes of hours. This condition occurs during light sleep. Treatment for myoclonus could include antiseizure medicines such as clonazepam, primidone, barbiturates, and others. This condition is one of many types of sleep disorders with treatment.

Sleep-wake non-24 –Hour Disorder

This condition is a unique type of circadian disorder. When you have N24, you will gradually find yourself falling asleep late every night and getting up later every day. You will find that your sleeping pattern is different than usual.

Shift -work disorders 

These types of sleep disorders make you have difficulty sleeping due to rotating shifts or work nights. You could also have this disorder if you are having problems being alert or awake when you should be working on your shift

How to diagnose different sleep disorders

In case you feel like you are a victim of any of multiple types of sleep disorders above, talk to your doctor about the symptoms. The doctor will conduct the physical exam and assist you in identifying the challenges that you are experiencing in your sleep. Writing down information in your diary will be beneficial to your primary care physician. Some diseases could lead to problems with sleeping; therefore your doctor could order tests to identify the cause of your sleep disorder.

In case the doctor has a suspicion that you are suffering from any of the types of sleep disorder; he/she could refer you to visit a sleep disorder center. You will find a sleep expert who will review the symptoms and could give a suggestion if he/ she has to conduct a sleep study. 

A sleep study also known as a polysomnogram (PSG) is a test with a plethora of components that has an electronic transmission and records the precise physical activities as you sleep. The sleep expert can conduct a sleep study at your home if you prefer your home comfort. The recordings turn into information for analysis by an expert physician to ascertain if you have a sleep disorder or not.

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