What are Sleep Disorders? Symptoms, Causes, Treatment 

Various types of sleep disorders like sleep apnea, narcolepsy, restless legs syndrome, and insomnia; and any one of them could impact your life and relationships. They result in the form of heart disease, diabetes, weight issues, mental health, and over-thinking problems. Today, we’ll discuss what are sleep disorders; their symptoms; causes, types; diagnosis, and treatment.

What are Sleep Disorders? 

Sleep disorder is a mental health condition that disturbs your sleep and stops you from getting sufficient restful sleep. Resultantly, you would experience various symptoms like daytime sleepiness and others. Almost everyone experiences problems with restful sleep now and then, but it becomes a sleeping disorder because of the following factors;

  • Disturbs and decreases your capability to perform daily routine activities
  • Feeling tired and exhausted in the daytime after getting the sleep of 7 or 8 hours at night
  • Experience difficulty in your sleep regularly
  • Roundabout 70 million people in the US experience sleeping disorder

Approximately over 100 million US people of different ages experience trouble in their sleeping and don’t get a sufficient amount of sleep. A night of restful sleep is very important for our mind and body. However, when you don’t enough sleeping, then it impacts your performance at work, school, safety and health issues, and your relationships.

Significance of Sleep

Many experts suggest that an adult person should get 7 to 9 hours of restful sleeping at night, but it varies from person to person. Some people need more sleeping, and others require less. According to a poll by National Sleep Foundation (NSF) in the US showed that average US adult person sleeps 6.4 hours at night, and 7.7 hours on the weekends. The poll study shows the sleeping trend is reducing for the past few years, because of the using internet, social media, and bringing work at home.

According to the study by NSF showed that older adult people aged from 55 to 84 get 7 hours of sleeping in their routine life and 7.1 hours on the weekends. Factors that disturb their sleeping are discomfort, physical pain, and usage of washroom repetitively.

The study has also noticed the decreasing sleeping trend among children, and their maximum sleeping time also varies with age. Factors impacting their sleeping time and reducing it to 2 or 3 hours are TV in the bedroom, consumption of caffeine, and others.

Symptoms of Sleep Disorders 

Some of the main symptoms of the sleeping disorder are as follows;

  • Taking a nap almost daily
  • Facing difficulty in managing your emotions
  • Responses are slow
  • Difficult to remember things and memory issues
  • Others tell you that you seem sleepy
  • Problematic performance at school and in the workplace
  • Difficult to focus at work or school, and pay heed to things
  • Problem to remain awake while reading or watching TV
  • Sleeping with driving

Causes of Sleep Disorders 

Various factors could cause sleeping issues, and they all may be different but they result in the form of sleeping disorders. Some of the main factors that may cause it are as follows;

  • People above the age of 65 may experience sleeping disorders. It’s not certain, but it’s part of aging due to medication that elderly people use often
  • Certain medicines disrupt your sleeping schedule
  • Genetic issues like narcolepsy
  • Night shift job would badly impact your biological sleeping clock
  • Alcohol and other environmental factors
  • Anxiety disorder, depression, and psychiatric issues
  • Medical conditions like asthma
  • Physical issues like an ulcer
  • Chronic pain like lower back, arthritis, fatigue syndrome, etc
  • Urinating frequently
  • Respiratory problems and allergies

Types of Sleep Disorders 

Some of the main types of sleeping disorders are as follows;


The insomnia is a sleeping disorder that makes it difficult for you either to stay in a sleeping mode or fall into it. Insomnia could badly impact your physical health and your quality of life and cause the following issues;

  • Disturb performance at school and work
  • Weight gaining issues
  • Irritability problems
  • Difficult to focus and concentrate
  • Depression

The insomnia is a very common disorder and it affects approximately 50% of US adult people at some stage in their lives. It is also common among women and elderly people.

Sleep Apnea

Sleeping apnea is the state of breathing pause while sleeping, and it’s a severe medical condition because your body intakes a limited amount of oxygen. The condition makes you wake up at night, and it has two following types;

  • Central Sleeps Apnea: there’s a connectivity problem between muscles and the brain that manages your breathing.
  • Obstructive Sleeps Apnea:  it causes to stop the airflow because the airway space is either too narrow or obstructed


Parasomnias is a type of sleeping disorder that causes your body to create abnormal behavioral movements while sleeping. They’re as follows;

  • Jaw clenching or teeth grinding
  • Bedwetting
  • Nightmares
  • Groaning
  • Sleep talking
  • Sleepwalking

Restless Leg Syndrome

RLS is a type that creates an urge to move your legs, and it also develops a tingling sensation along with the urge. Its symptoms are common at night, but they can also occur in the daytime. RLS has an association with many other health conditions like Parkinson’s disease, ADHD (attention deficit hyperactivity disorder), and others. But we don’t know the exact cause of it.


Narcolepsy is a type that would cause a sleeping attack when you’re awake, and it would make you feel exhausted and go to sleep immediately. It could cause you sleeping paralysis that you won’t be able to move physically after waking up. The narcolepsy attack may come at any time, and it has an association with other neurological disorders like multiple sclerosis.

Diagnosis of Sleep Disorders 

The doctors would analyze your medical history, symptoms, and thorough physical examination. Some of the other tests that they could conduct are as follows;

MSLT (Multiple Sleep Latency Test):

It analyzes your napping during the day, and they employ it as a conjunction PSG in order to diagnose narcolepsy during the night.

EEG (Electroencephalogram):

The test studies the electrical activity of your brain and tries to find the potential issues that appeared in the activity. It’s a subtype and element of polysomnography.

PSG (Polysomnography):

It analyzes brain waves, body movement, and oxygen level in the lab while sleeping off the subject in order to determine the disruption level of your sleep. You have to perform the HST (home sleeping study) on your own in order to diagnose sleeping apnea.

Treatment of Sleep Disorders 

The treatment plan for sleeping disorders varies due to changing conditions and causes. Doctors usually recommend lifestyle changes and medications in combination as a treatment plan.


The medication for sleeping issues deal with the following issues;

  • Teeth grinding and a dental guard
  • Surgery and breathing device for sleep apnea
  • Health issues and medications
  • Cold and allergy medicines
  • Melatonin supplements
  • Sleeping tablets

Lifestyle Changes

Along with medicines if the person makes changes in the lifestyle, then it would make your sleep better. Some of the changes that you should consider making in your lifestyle are as follows;

  • Keeping the healthy weight of your body according to the suggestion of your doctor
  • Eating a limited amount of carbohydrates before going to bed
  • Reducing the usage of alcohol and tobacco
  • Low consumption of caffeine and other energy drinks late afternoon and evening
  • Drinking limited water before going to bed
  • Following the regular sleeping schedule without making any changes
  • Stretching and exercising in order to deal with stress and anxiety issues
  • Adding fish and vegetables to your diet and limiting the usage of sugar

If you have the same wake-up and sleeping time, then it would improve your quality of sleep. You should follow the same schedule on the weekends. If you disrupt your schedule, then it would become difficult for you to go to sleep or wake up on time during the week.

Conclusion: What Are Sleep Disorders? Symptoms, Causes, Treatment 

After an in-depth study of what are sleep disorders; their types, symptoms, causes, diagnosis, and treatment; we’ve realized that sleeping disorder is a serious issue and disrupt the balance of your life. If you want to improve your sleeping quality, then follow and practice the above-mentioned tips and suggestions.