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Common Sleep disorders & how to overcome them

Chapter 4 Sleep disorders


A sleep disorder is a condition that affects one’s ability to get sufficient good quality of sleep on a regular basis. Sleep disorders lead to sleep disruptions, which can have a negative effect on one’s energy, motivation, concentration, mood, and overall health. ‘In some cases, a sleep disorder is a symptom of a more serious medical or mental health condition.

There are over 80 different sleep disorders. The International Classification of Sleep Disorders (ICSD) puts them into seven categories.

  • Insomnia
  • Sleep Related Breathing Disorders (e.g Sleep apnea )
  • Central Disorders of Hypersomnolence (e.g. Narcolepsy )
  • Circadian Rhythm Sleep-Wake Disorders (e.g. Shift-work disorder )
  • Parasomnias (e.g. Somnambulism )
  • Sleep Related Movement Disorders (e.g. Restless leg syndrome , bruxism )

Sleep disorders can have many causes:

  • Allergies and respiratory problems: when you cannot breathe due to a cold or allergy, it is tough to fall asleep and sleep soundly.
  • Nocturia: the need to urinate frequently is another sleep disruptor that forces us to wake up in the middle of the night.
  • Chronic pain: experiencing pain in your body such as arthritis, headaches, or muscle pains, will prohibit you from getting that restful sleep.
  • Stress and anxiety: a preoccupied mind will not fall asleep quickly and heightens the chances of nightmares and other sleep disruptors. This is why setting aside worries and work is important before bed.
  • Genetics: Some sleep disorders such as parasomnia often run in families .
  • Neurological disorders: Narcolepsy, although it can occur on its own, is also caused by certain neurological disorders such as multiple sclerosis.
  • Obesity: Obstructive sleep apnea is often caused by obesity or excess weight , which leads to a blockage within the soft tissue of the mouth and throat.

Some of the most common types of sleeping disorders will be explained in the following sections.

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