Common Sleep Disorders

The most common sleep disorders include:

Primary insomnia:
» Chronic difficulty in falling asleep and/or maintaining sleep when no other cause is found for these symptoms.

» Involuntarily grinding or clenching of the teeth while sleeping.

Delayed sleep phase syndrome (DSPS):
» Inability to awaken and fall asleep at socially acceptable times but no problem with sleep maintenance, a disorder of circadian rhythms. (Other such disorders are advanced sleep phase syndrome (ASPS), non-24-hour sleep-wake syndrome (Non-24), and irregular sleep wake rhythm, all much less common than DSPS, as well as the transient jet lag and shift work sleep disorder.)

Hypopnea syndrome:
» Abnormally shallow breathing or slow respiratory rate while sleeping.

» Excessive daytime sleepiness (EDS) often culminating in falling asleep spontaneously but unwillingly at inappropriate times.

» A sudden weakness in the motor muscles that can result in collapse to the floor.

Night terror:
» Pavor nocturnus, sleep terror disorder: abrupt awakening from sleep with behavior consistent with terror.

» Disruptive sleep-related events involving inappropriate actions during sleep; sleep walking and night-terrors are examples.

Periodic limb movement disorder (PLMD):
» Sudden involuntary movement of arms and/or legs during sleep, for example kicking the legs. Also known as nocturnal myoclonus. See also Hypnic jerk, which is not a disorder.

Rapid eye movement behavior disorder (RBD):
» Acting out violent or dramatic dreams while in REM sleep, sometimes injuring bed partner or self (REM sleep disorder or RSD).

Restless legs syndrome (RLS):
» An irresistible urge to move legs. RLS sufferers often also have PLMD.

Situational circadian rhythm sleep disorders:
» Shift work sleep disorder (SWSD) and jet lag.

Sleep apnea, obstructive sleep apnea:
» Obstruction of the airway during sleep, causing lack of sufficient deep sleep, often accompanied by snoring. Other forms of sleep apnea are less common. When air is blocked from entering into the lungs, the individual unconsciously gasps for air and sleep is disturbed. Stops of breathing of at least ten seconds, 30 times within seven hours of sleep, classifies as apnea.

Sleep paralysis:
» Is characterized by temporary paralysis of the body shortly before or after sleep. Sleep paralysis may be accompanied by visual, auditory or tactile hallucinations. Not a disorder unless severe. Often seen as part of narcolepsy.

Sleepwalking or somnambulism:
» Engaging in activities that are normally associated with wakefulness (such as eating or dressing), which may include walking, without the conscious knowledge of the subject.

» A frequent need to get up and go to the bathroom to urinate at night. It differs from Enuresis, or bed-wetting, in which the person does not arouse from sleep, but the bladder nevertheless empties.

» A cause of sleep deprivation. Somniphobia is a dread/ fear of falling asleep or going to bed. Signs of illness include anxiety and panic attacks during attempts to sleep and before it.