A sleep disorder is a physical and psychological condition or disturbance of sleep and wakefulness caused by abnormalities that occur during sleep or by abnormalities of specific sleep mechanisms. Although sleep disorders exist during sleep, recognizable symptoms manifest themselves during the day. Accurate diagnosis requires a polysomnogram, widely known as sleep test.
Here is a list of some well known sleep disorders:
Sleep Apnea – one of the most common sleep disorders known. Characterized with loud, constant snoring and repeated arousals caused by an obstruction of the airways and disordered breathing. Sleep apnea is known in 3 forms – obstructive sleep apnea, central sleep apnea and mixed apnea. Obstructive sleep apnea is the most common as well as the most serious one of all.
Snoring – probably the most common one among all sleep disorders. It is a noise produced by a sleeping individual in which the soft palate and the uvula vibrate during breathing. It is a sign that the breathing airway is not completely open. The unpleasant and often annoying sound associated with snoring comes from efforts to force air through the narrowed passageway.
Insomnia- a sleep disorder that means inability to fall asleep. Insomnia often disrupts daily routine and it can result from diet, intake of caffeine or alcohol, emotional difficulties, stress or underlying disease. It may cause different problems during the day such as tiredness, a lack of energy, difficulty concentrating, and irritability. Insomnia can be classified to 3 – transient, intermittent and chronic.
Narcolepsy- a sleep disorder that is characterized by excessive and uncontrollable daytime sleepiness. These sleep attacks can occur at anytime, even while the person is engaged in an activity. During sleep, narcoleptics have an abnormal sleep pattern: They enter REM sleep prematurely without going through the normal sequence of sleep stages. Patients with narcolepsy often feel tiredness through most of the time. Other symptoms of narcolepsy include cataplexy, sleep paralysis, and hypnagogic hallucinations.
RLS and PLMD- these are common sleep disorders among elderly. Restless Legs Syndrome (RLS) is a neurological sleep disorder in which patients experience irrepressible sensations in the legs or arms while sitting or lying still. Terms used to describe restless legs syndrome may include creepy, crawly, pulling, tingling, itching, or gnawing. Unlike other sleep disorders such as narcolepsy, RLS occurs only when lying in bed and not during daily routine activities. Periodic Limb Movement Disorder (PLMD) causes jerking in the legs or arms that occurs frequently during resting or sleeping.
Hypersomnya- this sleep disorder refers to either excessive sleepiness during the day or extended, overly long periods of nighttime sleep. As with most sleep disorders, hypersomnia is underreported because many people inaccurately believe that always feeling sleepy and taking naps are consider as normal behavior. This phenomenon is mostly common with teenagers and young adults.