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The Most Common Types of Sleep Disorders

August 6, 2019

There are many types of sleep disorders. You may think it would be easy to tell if you have one because you're either not sleeping or feeling tired. But even if you're getting seven or eight hours of solid sleep each night, you can potentially have a sleep disorder if you don't feel rested.

Sleep disorders develop when you're having problems with the quality, timing and amount of sleep that you're getting. This ultimately causes problems with how you function throughout the day. In other words, it affects your quality of life.

Here's a look at the types of sleep disorders and how you can tell if you're experiencing one. 

Most Common Types of Sleep Disorders 

Primary insomnia- Insomnia usually appears in two forms: acute and chronic.

  • Acute insomnia is brief and lasts only a few days. Its causes are usually related to a stressful event, like an exam, and it usually passes without treatment.
  • Chronic insomnia is characterized by disrupted sleep that occurs at least three days a week for three months.

Knowing the difference can help you determine if you should talk to your doctor. 

Sleep Apnea- Sleep apnea occurs when air flow periodically stops or is diminished while you're sleeping. It also appears in two forms: obstructive and central.

  • Obstructive sleep apnea occurs when air flow is interrupted because of the narrowing or closure of the throat. 
  • Central sleep apnea is caused by a change of breathing control and rhythm in the brain center. 

Symptoms of sleep apnea include snoring and gasping for air. Treatments include:

  • CPAP Device (Continuous Positive Airway Pressure) mask that is worn to open airways
  • Alcohol and sedative avoidance
  • Adjusting sleep positions
  • Weight loss

Restless Leg Syndrome-  It's a disorder that is characterized by an overwhelming urge to move the legs when they are at rest. Doctors can prescribe medications to help treat symptoms.

Narcolepsy- This is a sleep disorder that is characterized by excessive sleepiness. It can take years to diagnose and while there is no cure, there are treatments and lifestyle changes that greatly improve the symptoms, such as developing good sleeping patterns and trying different medications.

Health Concerns Connected to Sleep Disorders

Sleep disorders can eventually lead to extreme fatigue and poor performance at work and school. They can also put you at risk for many health-related issues including:

  • Heart Disease
  • Heart Attack
  • Heart Failure
  • High Blood Pressure
  • Stroke
  • Diabetes
  • Emotional disturbances
  • Memory lapses 

How to Tell If You May Have a Sleep Disorder

In order to help determine if you may have a sleep disorder, you can start by asking yourself the following questions:

      • Do you have trouble getting to sleep or staying asleep?
      • Do you wake up feeling tired after seven to eight hours of solid sleep?
      • Do you frequently nap throughout the day?
      • Do you suffer from morning headaches?
      • Does your significant other say you snore or stop breathing while sleeping?
      • Do you have abnormal sensations in your legs while lying down?

If you answer "yes" to any of these questions, then it may be time for you to see your primary care physician. Your doctor can set you up with a diagnosis and treatment plan.  

You can also download our infographic with "10 Simple Tips To Wind Down Before Bed" to help you establish a consistent bedtime routine.