The Top 19 Sleep Disorders

If you are feeling tired all the time or have problems getting to sleep and staying asleep, you may have an underlying sleep disorder. Here is a comprehensive introduction to the most common sleep disorders.

1. Oversleeping

Yes, oversleeping is actually a recognised disorder. These people are extremely tired throughout the day and napping does not prove to provide any relief. Oversleeping can be caused by depression or another undiagnosed condition such as heart disease. Left unaddressed, oversleeping is associated with diabetes, heart disease and increased risk of death.

2. Snoring

Snoring occurs when the muscles in the airway relax too much and breathing during sleep creates a noisy vibration. There are many causes of snoring and many different treatment options available.

3. Circadian Rhythm Sleep Disorders

Your Circadian clock is also known as your internal body clock. This disorder can either be ‘extrinsic’ (caused by external factors such as shift work or jet lag) or ‘intrinsic’ (built- in). Built in circadian rhythm sleep disorders characterise themselves as an inability to stay awake in the evening, an inability to stay asleep in the morning and/or periods of alertness in the middle of the night.

4. Parasomnias

Parasomnias are a group of disorders including nightmares, night terrors, sleep walking, confusional arousals and many more.

5. Nightmares

Nightmares are more common amongst children, however adults suffer with occasional nightmares. The occasional nightmare is normal, however 2-8% of adults find themselves plagued with nightmares which impact their overall sleep quality. This can be a sign of an underlying sleep disorder, such as sleep apnoea or restless legs syndrome as disturbed sleep is more likely to cause nightmares.

6. Night Terrors

Night terrors involve a partial waking from sleep feeling frightened or petrified, and often in association with intense sweating and palpitations.

7. Sleep Walking

Also known as somnambulism, sleepwalking involves walking or performing other complex behaviours whilst in a deep sleep. It is more common in children than adults and more likely to occur in the sleep deprived.

8. Confusional Arousals

There are two main types of confusional arousal, the first and most common type is sleep inertia, where the person wakes feeling groggy and more sleepy than when they went to sleep. This might last a few hours. The second type usually occurs within the first third of falling asleep and last anywhere from a few minutes to over an hour. The person may wake up disorientated, confused and may make little sense when speaking. They may have no recollection the next day of this episode.

9. REM Sleep Behaviour Disorder

REM sleep behaviour disorder causes people to act out their dreams in their sleep. This is because the paralysis that usually occurs during REM sleep is absent, allowing them to physically act out the dreams they are having. This can sometimes cause danger to the individual and others around them.

10. Hypersomnia (daytime sleepiness)

People with hypersmonia can fall asleep at any time, for example, in the middle of the day or whilst driving. There are two forms of hypersomnia, one in which the person gets a normal amount of sleep (8-9 hours per night) and the other where they are oversleeping and still tired.

11. Sleep Paralysis

Sleep paralysis is a phenomenon where the individual, either whilst falling asleep or waking up, experiences a brief inability to move or speak. This only lasts for a few moments or minutes and causes no other harm.

12. Periodic Limb Movement Disorder (PMLD)

PLMD is repetitive jerking or movement of the limbs during sleep. It is estimated that at least 80% of people with RLS (Restless Legs Syndrome) experience PLMD. Causes of PLMD are varied, from existing health issues such as diabetes and iron deficiency to medication and medication withdrawal.

13. Sleep Related Eating Disorders

This set of disorders are characterised by unusual eating patterns during the night. Night time eating can occur during an episode of sleep walking and the individual has no recollection of doing so.

14. Obstructive Sleep Apnoea (OSA)

Obstructive Sleep Apnoea (also know as OSA) is where a person stops breathing for at least 10 seconds during sleep. The breathing stops due to relaxation of the throat muscles which causes the throat to collapse, resulting in blocked airways. Sleep apnoea is more common in middle aged men but can also affect women and children.

15. Bed Wetting (Nocturnal Enuresis)

Bed wetting occurs when the bladder empties unintentionally during sleep. This problem can be found in one third of five year olds and is mainly an issue for children.

16. Non 24 Hour Sleep Wake Disorder

This disorder is related to the circadian clock, where a person’s internal body clock is misaligned with the persons daytime alertness needs and fails to correct itself.

17. Insomnia

Insomnia, also known as sleeplessness, is categorised as having trouble sleeping. It can be caused by a number of factors including psychiatric, medical and habitual.

18. Bruxism (teeth grinding)

Bruxism is the habit of grinding or gnashing your teeth together. This can result in pain in the jaw or face.

19. Narcolepsy

Narcolepsy is associated with excessive daytime sleepiness and additional symptoms. Narcolepsy patients often have frequent awakenings and insomnia.

If you are worried that any of these brief descriptions sound like something you many be suffering with, don’t suffer in silence and contact us at hello@sleepfit.com.au or 02 9251 6222 to chat with one of our SleepFit staff.