Sleep disorders

Last updated: August 30, 2022

Sleep disorders

Ahmed Raza

Sleep is a biological process that helps the body in performing certain functions. In fact, sleep is important to maintain good health. Disturbed sleeping patterns affect your health, safety, and quality of life.

Sleep disturbance increases your risk of other health disorders too. Sleep disorders are on the rise in the United States. More than 70% of high school students get less than eight hours of sleep on weeknights, leading to sleep disorders and poor health.

According to the recommendation of health experts, adults should get at least seven to nine hours of sleep at night. However, these requirements are personal and can vary from person to person. When children get too little sleep, it negatively affects their ability to properly and efficiently function.

Causes and Effects:

Sleep disorders occur because of hectic schedules, stress, and fatigue. These disorders occur when prior mentioned issues occur regularly and interfere in someone’s life, causing them to need proper remedial measures.

Disturbed sleep makes a person feel extremely exhausted during the daytime too. Deprivation of a sound sleep interferes with concentration, mood, energy, and entire life.

The causes vary for different sleep disorders, however, the common ones are:

Sometimes the causes of sleep disorders are unknown.

When you have a sleep disorder, you want to receive a diagnosis and proper treatment without wasting any time. Delay in treatment can lead to further health hazards, affect your work efficiency, and impact your overall performance.


Just like the causes, the symptoms also vary depending upon the type of disorder. Some signs that show a person may have a sleep disorder include:

Types of sleeping disorders:

There are almost eighty different types of sleep disorders. Some of the most common are:


The recurring difficulty to go to sleep and remain asleep despite all means and sources to do so are available is called Insomnia. People suffering from insomnia may experience excessive sleepiness in the daytime. About fifty percent of adults experience signs of insomnia and ten percent suffer from chronic insomnia. Insomnia can be associated with medical, psychiatric conditions or it may occur by itself.

Sleep apnea:

A common sleep-related breathing disorder is apnea, which occurs due to blockage of the upper airway. People suffering from apnea often wake up choking or gasping for air. Like other sleep disorders, heavy snoring is another common symptom. Sleep apnea can lead to excessive sleepiness and fatigue during the daytime as well as other cognitive impairments.

Restless leg syndrome:

Restless leg syndrome, RLS, is a sleep disorder that creates an intense and irresistible desire to move the legs. In this disorder, the patients feel itching, throbbing, and other painful sensations in their legs and a great desire to move them while they’re at rest. Restless legs syndrome often occurs in the evening, just before the patient wants to go to sleep. It can be related to problems in daytime sleepiness, concentration, and irritability. People suffering from RLS want to have a walk and shake their legs to help relieve the pain sensation.

Restless legs syndrome is a sleep-associated movement disorder that is found in 7-10% of the people of the United States. Unfortunately, it can’t be treated through moderate exercises, changes in lifestyle, except that night-time stretching may provide some relief in certain cases.


Narcolepsy affects the control of sleep and wakefulness, as it is a neurological disorder. In narcolepsy, the patient feels excessively tired during the day despite getting a long rest at night. People with narcolepsy may fall asleep at inopportune times. It can also lead to sleep-onset and sleep maintenance problems in some cases.

Narcolepsy symptoms are roughly found in one in two thousand adults in the United States and Europe. It normally starts between the ages of fifteen to twenty-five, but it can be found at any age. Narcolepsy is often undiagnosed and no treatment is taken.


When you feel you might have a sleep disorder, immediately seek a diagnosis and treatment. Those who don’t have proper sleep, experience significant difficulty in their daily activities like impaired decision making, irritability, slower action times, and accidents during work. Sleep deprivation may also lead to the development of diabetes, heart diseases, and obesity.

Failing to get the proper amount of sleep results in a tired feeling during the day. Sleep disorders affect cognitive function, which may cause learning hardships for students, memory loss in people of all ages, depression, and personality changes.

To deal with sleep disorders and in order to get healthy sleep visit Sleep On It.


Last reviewed and updated by on Jan 14, 2022

Caitlin Goodwin, DNP, RN, CNM, is a Board Certified Nurse-Midwife, Registered Nurse, and freelance writer. She has over twelve years of experience in nursing practice.

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