Sleep Disorders

A sleep disorder (somnipathy) is a medical disorder of the sleep patterns of a person or animal. Some sleep disorders are serious enough to interfere with normal physical, mental and emotional functioning. A test commonly ordered for some sleep disorders is the polysomnogram.


Hypersomnia: Symptoms, causes and treatments   Live Science - January 23, 2023

Hypersomnia is a chronic condition characterized by episodes of excessive daytime sleepiness or prolonged nighttime sleep (over 11 hours), according to the National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke. This disorder can be rooted in neurological disruptions, or it can be a result of poor sleep hygiene and other lifestyle factors. It is not known exactly how many people experience excessive sleepiness.

The term hypersomnia is often used interchangeably with excessive daytime sleepiness, or hypersomnolence. Individuals with hypersomnia find it difficult to wake up, and they feel the need to nap repeatedly throughout the day. In addition, sleep doesn’t tend to relieve feelings of exhaustion and sleepiness.

Hypersomnia is not a life-threatening condition, according to the NINDS, but it can lead to serious consequences, including accidents caused by falling asleep while driving.




Low energy levels


Slow speech

Loss of appetite


Memory problems

Not being able to function in social, occupational or other settings

Common Sleep Disorders

The most common sleep disorders include:

Bruxism: Involuntarily grinding or clenching of the teeth while sleeping

Delayed sleep phase syndrome (DSPS): inability to awaken and fall asleep at socially acceptable times but no problem with sleep maintenance, a disorder of circadian rhythms. Other such disorders are advanced sleep phase syndrome (ASPS) and Non-24-hour sleep-wake syndrome (Non-24), both much less common than DSPS.

Hypopnea syndrome: Abnormally shallow breathing or slow respiratory rate while sleeping

Narcolepsy: The condition of falling asleep spontaneously and unwillingly at inappropriate times

Night terror, Pavor nocturnus, sleep terror disorder: abrupt awakening from sleep with behavior consistent with terror

Parasomnias: Include a variety of disruptive sleep-related events

Periodic limb movement disorder (PLMD): Sudden involuntary movement of arms and/or legs during sleep, for example kicking the legs. Also known as nocturnal myoclonus.

Rapid eye movement behavior disorder (RBD): Acting out violent or dramatic dreams while in REM sleep

Restless legs syndrome (RLS): An irresistible urge to move legs. RLS sufferers often also have PLMD.

Situational circadian rhythm sleep disorders: shift work sleep disorder (SWSD) and jet lag

Obstructive sleep apnea: Obstruction of the airway during sleep, causing lack of sufficient deep sleep; often accompanied by snoring. Central sleep apnea is less common.

Sleep paralysis is characterized by temporary paralysis of the body shortly before or after sleep. Sleep paralysis may be accompanied by visual, auditory or tactile hallucinations. Not a disorder unless severe.

Sleepwalking or somnambulism: Engaging in activities that are normally associated with wakefulness (such as eating or dressing), which may include walking, without the conscious knowledge of the subject

Common Causes of Sleep Disorders

Just about anything can cause a sleep disorder - emotional, physical - internal or external. Fear is a strong component of loss of sleep as it produces anxiety, sweats and palpitations. Sleep loss can be temporary or long term, and will cause illnesses as a result. The mind was not built to go without sleep - a time in which the soul processes in another frequency. Changes in life style, such as a shift work change (SWC), can contribute to sleep disorders.

Other problems that can affect sleep:

Physical illness and Allergies

Back pain, or other pain

Chronic pain


Neck pain

Environmental noise


Drugs - Many drugs can affect the ratio of the various stages of sleep, thus affecting the overall quality of sleep. Poor sleep can lead to accumulation of Sleep debt.

Endocrine imbalance mainly due to Cortisol but not limited to this hormone. Hormone changes due to impending menstruation or during the menopause transition years.

Chronobiological disorders, mainly Circadian rhythm disorders

General Principles of Treatment

Treatments for sleep disorders generally can be grouped into four categories:

behavioral/ psychotherapeutic treatments



other somatic treatments

None of these general approaches is sufficient for all patients with sleep disorders. Rather, the choice of a specific treatment depends on the patient's diagnosis, medical and psychiatric history, and preferences, as well as the expertise of the treating clinician. Often, behavioral/psychotherapeutic and pharmacological approaches are not incompatible and can effectively be combined to maximize therapeutic benefits. Management of sleep disturbances that are secondary to mental, medical, or substance abuse disorders should focus on the underlying conditions.

Medications and somatic treatments may provide the most rapid symptomatic relief from some sleep disturbances. Some disorders, such as narcolepsy, are best treated pharmacologically. Others, such as chronic and primary insomnia, may be more amenable to behavioral interventions, with more durable results.

Special equipment may be required for treatment of several disorders such as obstructive apnea, the circadian rhythm disorders and bruxism. In these cases, when severe, an acceptance of living with the disorder, however well managed, is often necessary.

6 Sleep myths damaging your health   BBC - April 16, 2019

Myth 1 - You can cope on less than five hours of sleep

Myth 2 - Alcohol before bed boosts your sleep

Myth 3 - Watching TV in bed helps you relax

Myth 4 - If you're struggling to sleep, stay in bed

Myth 5 - Hitting the snooze button

Myth 6 - Snoring is always harmless