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Common Sleep Disorders

Sleep DisordersThere are many different types of sleep disorders. Here are some of the most common types the Sleep Disorders Center treats:

Idiopathic hypersomnolence is extreme sleepiness that occurs for no apparent reason. Even after sleeping all night, you may still feel sleepy during the day and find that your sleepiness interferes with your daily activities and functioning. Though you sleep at night, you may still require sleep during the day.

Insomnia occurs when you have difficulty falling asleep or you tend to wake up in the middle of the night and are unable to fall back to sleep. If the difficulty with falling asleep continues for an extended period of time, you may begin to associate your bed with your inability to sleep, leading to chronic insomnia. Many times depression, anxiety, and other mental illnesses are associated with insomnia.

Narcolepsy is a neurological disorder that affects your sleeping and wakefulness. You feel excessively sleepy during the day and will intermittently fall asleep unintentionally during the day. You may suddenly fall asleep during any time of the day and during any type of activity. You may also experience sudden feelings of weakness and a loss of voluntary muscle control, hallucinations, and sleep paralysis, a temporary inability to move or speak while falling asleep or waking up.

A nocturnal seizure disorder causes abnormal movement or behavior during sleep. You may wake from sleep to find yourself violently moving your arms and legs, biting your tongue, or experiencing loss of urine. You may also thrash around or feel confused. Nocturnal seizures are a form of epilepsy, a disorder caused by abnormal electrical activity in the brain.

Obesity hypoventilation syndrome is caused by extra weight on your chest and abdomen that makes it difficult for your chest to expand. Because your chest is unable to expand, you are unable to breathe rapidly enough or deeply enough. You may also frequently stop breathing for short periods of time while you are sleeping, resulting in interrupted sleep during the night.

Obstructive sleep apnea (OSA) is a serious condition caused by a blockage of your airway. Due to the blockage, you stop breathing repeatedly for short periods of time while you sleep, and you may stop breathing hundreds of times per night. Since you are unable to fall into a deep sleep because your sleep is constantly interrupted, you may experience excessive daytime sleepiness and your performance at work and everyday activities may suffer.

A periodic limb movement disorder (PLMD) is characterized by repetitive cramping or jerking of your legs while you sleep. The movements usually occur every 20 – 40 seconds and are often disruptive enough to wake you from sleep. You may experience excessive daytime sleepiness due to your interrupted sleep.

Restless legs syndrome (RLS) is characterized by an uncomfortable feeling or sensation in your legs when you lie down to sleep. To relieve the uncomfortable feeling, you often have a strong urge to move your legs, which makes falling asleep and staying asleep difficult. You often experience daytime sleepiness because your sleep is disrupted.

A shift work sleep disorder occurs when you experience difficulty sleeping because you work night shift or you work rotating shifts. Working night shift can disrupt your body’s 24-hour internal circadian rhythm, which naturally urges your body to sleep at night and stay awake during the day. If you work rotating shifts, you may work some night shifts and some day shifts, and your body is not on a permanent sleep-wake cycle. You have trouble staying awake when you are supposed to be awake and alert.

Upper airway resistance syndrome (UARS) is caused by a breathing problem. You usually snore a lot and may wake up due to resistance in your airway. Unlike sleep apnea, you do not stop breathing periodically throughout the night. However, you may experience daytime sleepiness because your sleep is disrupted.

NEXT PAGE: Epworth Sleepiness Scale