Types of Sleep Disorder

By Anushka Goswami, Psychologist

Sleep disorders are a group of disorders wherein there are disturbances in the sleep pattern of an individual. Sleep disorders involve issues with the quality of sleep, the timing, and the amount of sleep, which may result in daytime distress and difficulty in daily life functioning. Sleep disorders can affect a tonne of factors related to the physical and mental health of an individual. It can affect the quality of life of an individual. Sleep-wake disorders can occur with various other physical and psychological issues such as anxiety, depression, or any other cognitive disorders.

Sleep is a very important part of our lifestyle. Most of the time, people and more frequently youngsters do not give much attention to the amount of sleep they get. Students in schools and colleges keep on staying awake till late at night, ignoring the need for sleep. These habits generally continue for a longer duration thus causing more frequent sleep disturbances in an individual.  There are a lot of signs and symptoms of various sleep disorders such as irregular breathing or increased movement during sleep, daytime drowsiness or sleepiness, irregular sleep and wake cycles, and difficulty in falling asleep.

The different types of Sleep disorders are classified into ten disorders. In this article I will only be explaining the most common ones, which are as follows:

  • Insomnia – This is one of the most common sleep disorders which involve difficulties getting sleep or staying asleep. For an individual to be diagnosed with insomnia, the sleep difficulties must happen atleast three nights per week for at least three months. These difficulties cause significant distress in daily life functioning such as school, college, or work.
  • Sleep apnea – Sleep apnea is a disorder which happens when there are interruptions during breathing while sleeping. An individual with sleep apnea has repeated obstructions of the airway during sleep which results in snoring, gasping, or pauses in breathing. This results in fatigue and sleepiness during the daytime.

sleep apnea

  • Hyper-somnolence disorder – Hyper-somnolence disorder is characterized with individuals feeling excessive sleepy even after getting almost seven hours of sleep. Few common signs can be getting unintentional sleep naps in between doing something else such as watching TV, getting sleep more than 9 hours in a day but still feeling not rested and difficulty in being completely awake after waking up. An individual can be only diagnosed with Hyper-somnolence disorder if the symptoms are happening severely at least three times a week for continuously at least three months.
  • REM sleep behaviour disorder – REM (Rapid Eye Movement) sleep behaviour disorder is characterized by episodes of arousal during sleep, wherein there is speaking or any movements. The individual shows actions as if he/she is in a dream.

Sleep is a very important part of our daily living; therefore it is also equally important that if anyone is facing any issues with sleep, they should consult a professional. There might be various reasons for sleep disturbances which need to be immediately addressed to a doctor for better and quicker results.

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