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Different Types of Sleep Disorders and Studies

The four major types of sleep disorders

Sleep disorders are medical conditions that affect the quality and duration of one’s sleep. Sleep deprivation caused can have a major impact on daytime functioning, quality of life, and overall health.

There are many different types of sleep disorders, and knowing the symptoms of each can help you and your healthcare provider figure out the reason behind all the fatigue and—most importantly—what to do about it.

More than 100 distinct sleep disorders have been recognized and defined by the medical community.

The four major types of sleep disorders are:

  • Problems falling and staying asleep.
  • Troubles staying awake.
  • Issues keeping a regular sleep-wake schedule.
  • Unusual behavioral activity during sleep.

Other conditions in which sleep disturbances and excessive daytime sleepiness figure distinctly include:

  • Chronic fatigue syndrome
  • Fibromyalgia
  • Jet lag
  • Seasonal affective disorder (SAD)

Sleep disorders could be potentially caused by physical or psychological factors. In turn, they also have the tendency to negatively affect physical and psychological health

Some of the different types of disorders are listed below:


Insomnia is the most prevalent sleep disorder, with about 10% of adults having a chronic problem with it and between 30% and 40% dealing with it frequently. It makes a person unable to get enough sleep to feel rested and leaves them yawning and tired all day.

Insomnia can take various forms. Some people have problems in falling asleep, which is defined as spending more than 20 to 30 minutes in bed before dozing off. Others wake up often or awaken hours too early and can’t go back to sleep. Some people even have a combination of different symptoms.

Snoring and Sleep Apnea

Snoring may seem harmless, However, a person snores because the throat closes while sleeping. If it’s bad enough to cut off breathing for a few seconds, then it becomes a more serious concern—sleep apnea, which is a chronic and potentially serious medical condition.

With sleep apnea, one may stop breathing multiple times per hour for 10 seconds or longer at a time. That makes the oxygen levels in the blood drop, and when the body senses that, it pulls the person out of deep sleep to get them to breathe again.


From the Latin meaning “around sleep,” parasomnias are sleep disorders represented by abnormal sleep behaviors or physiological events that occur during specific stages of sleep.

Sleep Paralysis

It is a condition when the person is awake but unable to move, sleep paralysis can be terrifying. It can happen during any transition between sleep and being awake, either while drifting off or while waking up.

Some people also tend to have hallucinations, which can be frightening—such as a stranger standing over the body and trying to hurt it. Others may be mundane but still confusing, because one may think something happened when it didn’t.

Episodes of sleep paralysis typically last only a few minutes, as the brain naturally either wakes up or falls asleep more fully. While the first few seconds may be frightening, just knowing what’s going on can make it less scary.

Restless Legs Syndrome

Restless legs syndrome (RLS) is a neurological movement disorder indicated by unpleasant feelings in the legs associated with a need to move.

These sensations may include:

  • Aches
  • Burning
  • Tingling
  • Crawling sensation on the legs

Typically, symptoms come on when one is resting, sleeping, or trying to fall asleep. They can make it difficult to fall asleep, bring one out of deep sleep, or wake one up. The end result is usually a lack of quality rest.

Circadian Rhythm Disorders

Circadian rhythm disorders are conditions that may result from one’s internal biological clock being out of sync with external time cues, including the natural dark-light cycle. The reasons for being out of sync can include:

  • Total blindness
  • Shift work or jet lag
  • Aging
  • Advanced or delayed sleep phase syndrome 

The mismatch could lead to insomnia or excessive sleepiness (hypersomnia) at inappropriate times. There are many such sleep disorders, you can head to Sleep Medicine Institute and find out more about the disorders, the studies from experts with more than 30 years of experience in the field.

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