4 Types of Sleeping Disorders and How to Recognize Them

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Having trouble sleeping can cause a lot of health disorders that might affect you in the long-run. Usually, people who have trouble falling asleep also have trouble staying asleep during the night. Constant sleepless nights tend to make people feel sleepy all the time but without being able to actually fall asleep.

Such unrest causes extreme fatigue, which is considered to be a serious health condition. The first signs that you have a sleeping disorder are feeling constantly worn down every day, tired, and low on energy. You are not alone in this though, sleep disorders are a normal thing that affects thousands of people around the world.

Some disorders are more prevalent while others come and go, depending on your lifestyle. Waking up every day feeling like you didn’t sleep at all is a clear sign of a sleeping disorder. These disorders differ in symptoms and seriousness. Based on the data, there are four most common sleeping disorders: sleep apnea, insomnia, narcolepsy, and RLS or restless leg syndrome.

We’re going to elaborate each of them so that you can get to know them and maybe even recognize your symptoms.

Sleep Apnea as the Most Common Sleeping Disorder

Sleep Apnea is considered to be an obstructive sleeping disorder, second only to insomnia. It’s among the most prevalent disorders, affecting a huge number of people across the entire globe. The worst thing about it is that those who have it aren’t even aware of it, which results in a failure to treat their disorder.

Insomnia may be number one when it comes to sleeping disorders, but OSA ( obstructive sleep apnea ) is the most treated disorder in sleep clinics. OSA causes a person to stop breathing for a couple of seconds, several times during the night. This happens because the upper respiratory system gets blocked by collapsing soft tissues.

These tissues relax and, by collapsing in the airway, block the entire respiratory system, preventing a person from breathing normally during sleep. It also results in snoring and a person often starts choking as they resume breathing. Because of this, their brain sends an alarm waking them from their sleep.

Since this happens often during the night, the brain never actually gets into deeper sleep phases. This causes a person to suffer a sleep disturbance, which eventually leads to an acute sleep disorder.

Insomnia is the Most Widely Spread Sleep Disorder in the World


Half of the world’s population has insomnia and it’s considered to be the most common sleeping disorder known to humankind. If it’s left untreated, it can become chronic and a person never really recovers from it. Fortunately, people learn to live with their condition and since it’s so common, there are various treatment methods and medications that can significantly help to reduce symptoms.

The most common signs of insomnia are difficulty falling asleep, waking up earlier every morning or during the night, and difficulties with returning to sleep.

Also characterized as poor sleep quality, insomnia is easily recognizable because of the following symptoms:

  • depression
  • decreased quality of life due to an inactive lifestyle
  • feeling fatigued all the time
  • problems at work followed by decreased performance
  • forgetfulness
  • absence of focus and inability to concentrate
  • constant lack of energy
  • daytime sleepiness
  • impulsive behaviors such as aggression and irritability

Insomnia is usually caused by a psychiatric or medical problem but can be also caused by constant worrying and stress or some environmental influences. It exists in two basic forms, chronic insomnia when it’s present for a long period of time, and acute when it doesn’t last for more than a few weeks.

The Neurological Disorder Known as Narcolepsy

Considered to be more of a neurological disorder, narcolepsy is a serious health condition where the brain loses the ability to control the wakefulness and sleep cycle. People can fall asleep in the middle of the street or while they’re driving without even being aware of it.

It’s not as common as sleep apnea or insomnia and the most obvious sign of narcolepsy is chronic sleepiness during the daytime. This is followed closely by the same episodes that tend to repeat over and over. A person suffering from narcolepsy doesn’t even know when it happens, they fall asleep just as easily as they wake up from it.

The fact that it’s so unpredictable makes it one of the most dangerous neurological disorders. Therefore, it’s always recommended that people with narcolepsy are accompanied by someone to avoid any accidents. People also suffer from sleep attacks. These attacks happen suddenly and can last for an unknown period of time, from a couple of minutes up to several hours.

The most common symptoms related to narcolepsy are nocturnal sleep disturbances, hallucinations, cataplexy, and sleep paralysis. These symptoms are also known as EDS or excessive daytime sleepiness.

Restless leg Syndrome aka RLS

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RLS is also one of the most common sleeping disorders and both adults and children suffer just the same. It’s a neurological disorder, only it’s much simpler than narcolepsy. Just as the name suggests, it’s when a person has the overwhelming, almost persistent impulse to move one or both legs while asleep. Such movement prevents them from getting quality sleep.

The sensations they feel are characterized as throbbing, burning, itching, aching, pulling or creeping and the only way to make it stop is by temporary movement. Only by moving a certain part of their body are they able to find relief. This sleeping disorder is more common in children and young adults, even though it also appears in old age.

The problem with RLS is that it makes maintaining sleep very difficult. It’s also known as restless sleeping but people who have deep sleep don’t seem to be bothered by RLS that much. Some of the symptoms might be depression, cognitive and memory impairment, EDS, and low quality of life. Sleeping pills and medications can help.

Lack of sleep can seriously affect a person’s life and these four are the main culprits. Get familiar with all the different symptoms and start dealing with your sleep disorder immediately. Waiting only makes things worse, so try to deal with it in the early stages.

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