What Are The Main Sleep Disorders

Do You Suffer From One Of These Sleep Disorders?

Is it true, SLEEP is a good barometer to your overall health?  Evidence certainly suggests it is and it could be a problem for many of us because as we become older we are going to find it more of a challenge.

Generally speaking, someone who is healthy will sleep much better than someone who isn’t.

Fear not – if you have one of these problems then there is a solution.

Sleeping is acknowledged as being essential to physical health and emotional well-being. Ignoring sleep problems may very well lead to poor health and emotional stress.

We should consider sleep to be a necessity, not something to be treated as a luxury.

Feeling sleepy during the normal course of the day is NOT normal, nor is finding it difficult to get to sleep and staying asleep at night.

These are some of the main Sleep Disorders many of us can experience:

  1. Insomnia
  2. Snoring
  3. Obstructive Sleep Apnea [OSA]
  4. Restless legs syndrome [RLS]
  5. Narcolepsy
  6. Sleep Hypo-ventilation
  7. Bruxism
  8. Advanced Sleep Phase Disorder [ASPD]


Sleep Disorder #1 – Insomnia

Rather than go into great lengths to discuss Insomnia I would refer you to the article I have already written about the subject. Because it is the main sleep disorder I have dedicated an entire post on it.

Please refer to the article titled \“Do You Have Insomnia And How Do You Beat It\”. Click the link and it will take you to the article.

Complications of Insomnia

Complications Of Insomnia

Sleep Disorder #2 – Snoring

There is enough information on this website for you to obtain a great understanding of snoring and therefore I won’t go into great lengths about it here either other than to say snoring is a very common problem.

It is known to affects upwards of 40% of men and 20% of women. It escalates with age and increases with weight gain. A person who snores also impacts the emotional and physical well being of a partner which in turn can cause distress for both parties.

Snoring is well documented as the third most common reason why people divorce or separate. Snoring also has many negative impacts on your health and I have written a number of article on these issues. Cancer, Stroke and Heart disease are directly related to snoring.

Sleep Disorder #3 – Obstructive Sleep Apnea [OSA]

OSA is a sleep disorder which causes temporary breathing stoppages whilst sleeping due to restrictions/blockage of the upper airways. These pauses in breathing can be numerous in number and will interrupt sleep, resulting in many awakenings each and every hour.

Normally, sufferers do not recall these awakenings, however many will generally feel exhausted during the course of the day, leading to irritability, depression and commonly, a decrease in productivity.

OSA can potentially be a serious and life-threatening sleep disorder. Thankfully Obstructive Sleep Apnea [OSA] can be successfully treated with Continuous Positive Airway Pressure (CPAP). The CPAP is a mask-like device which delivers a steady forced stream of air through the nose and or mouth during sleep. Some stop snoring devices will also help ease the burden of OSA.

I have written extensively about OSA as well and would encourage you to read about it.

ResMed biomedical-QuatroFX

CPAP Machine In Use

Sleep Disorder #4 – Restless Legs Syndrome (RLS)

Restless legs syndrome (RLS) is a very different sleep disorder causing an almost irresistible need or urge to continually move your arms or legs when trying to sleep. The urge to move also can occur when simply resting or lying down. Normally it is due to an uncomfortable, aching, tingly or creeping sensations through the limbs. It can be very uncontrollable and typically increases as one grows older.

Common symptoms or signs include:

  • Uncomfortable and nagging sensations deep inside the arms or legs, accompanied by this strong urge to move them.
  • The main culprits are the legs and these sensations are normally triggered by us resting and they invariably become worse at night.
  • These spasms or sensations can temporarily ease off if we move, massage our legs or even stretch but can return during the night.
  • Another symptom is a repetitive jerking and cramping of the legs.

Sleep Disorder #5 – Narcolepsy

Narcolepsy is another potentially dangerous sleep disorder which involves uncontrollable excessive daytime sleepiness. This disorder is actually caused by a dysfunction of our brain mechanism that directly control sleeping and waking.

If you suffer from narcolepsy, then there is every chance you may experience “sleep attacks” whilst in the middle of conversation, working, or even driving.

Needless to say if this happens when you are driving or operation machinery of any kind, lives other than yours can be impacted.

The more common signs and symptoms of narcolepsy are:

  • Hearing or seeing things when drowsy.
  • Starting to dream even prior to being fully asleep.
  • Suddenly feeling weak then losing control.
  • Losing control of your muscles during laughter.
  • Being extremely angry, or experiencing other strong emotions.
  • Having intense dreams and going to sleep immediately your head hits the pillow.
  • Feeling a sense of paralysis or inability to move as you are waking up or dozing off.


Sleep Disorder #6 – Sleep Hypo ventilation

The muscles we normally use to help us breathe generally need to be told to carry out this function by the brain. When we fall sleep the brain can sometimes struggle to receive these normal messages.

If a person suffers from having abnormal strength breathing muscles, and these muscles that are somewhat weak or can not cope under excessive loads as a result of a severe lung disorders or even a form of obesity, may not be able to breathe strongly enough during sleep. This poor breathing rhythm is known as sleep Hypo ventilation.

Unless identified then treated it can lead to restricted breathing and even heart failure.

Devices to help breathing like the CPAP machines will work in treating this sleep disorder.

Sleep Disorder #7 – Bruxism

More commonly know as teeth grinding during sleep and is common. If this isn’t treated, it can quite easily cause permanent damage to teeth, dentures etc, and even it causes jaw [TMJ] discomfort.

It is not uncommon sufferers are totally unaware they have this sleep disorder. A cheap dental guard can protect their teeth.


A Mouth Guard Will Protect Your Teeth

Sleep Disorder #8 – Advanced Sleep Phase Disorder [ASPD]

ASPD is a very different sleep disorder where your brain tells you to go to bed and wake up far too early.

Most people who suffer from this disorder will find themselves needing to go to bed as early as 8.00-9.00pm. There is no problem falling asleep and sleeping okay for a few hours but then they wake up extremely early (e.g. 3-4 am) then experience extreme difficulty returning to sleep. Often sufferers feel they don’t get enough sleep as a result of the early rise.

What causes ASPD? – Our 24 hour body clock plays an important role in us feel sleepy. Much of this body clock is controlled by the pineal gland. The gland is pea-sized and situated around the middle of our brain.

Under normal conditions, an adult’s body clock “sleepy” time kicks in between 11pm to 7am and in contrast allows us to be “alert” at other times. Those suffering from ASPD will have a completely different “early settings” body clock. As a consequence it realigns those “alert” then “sleepy” time zones earlier making them feel sleepy earlier in the evening and alert as much earlier as 3-4 am in the morning.

As we become older ASPD becomes more common. Roughly 1% of middle aged to older people experience ASPD.

Apart from the fact ASPD can be very inconvenient it can contribute to insomnia in the very early morning resulting in insufficient sleep, daytime tiredness and increasing fatigue. This in turn completes the circle requiring the sufferer to want to go to bed earlier than normal. A never ending cycle.

Treatment options are available:

  • Bright light treatment when feeling tired at 6-8.00pm can reset your body clock and readjust your sleepy time period to a later time.
  • A small dose of melatonin [but don’t use it every nigh] at 8.30-9.00pm can help reset your body clock sleep time.
  • Seek a sleep specialist diagnosis and treatment.

There are more Sleep Disorder but these are the main ones.