How Sleep Disorders Affect An Individual?

Nowadays, sleep disorders are common among people worldwide and they adversely affect the quality as well as the quantity of the sleep. Sleep disorders are the brain disorders that cause interruptions in the normal sleep pattern. The brain regulates the sleep and any disturbance with the sleep can also affect the cognitive function. Symptoms of sleep disorders vary depending on the type of sleep disorder but most of the sleep disorders are characterized by tiredness, inability to fall asleep, inability to stay asleep, excessive daytime sleepiness, loss of muscle control and unusual behavior. There are more than 80 types of sleep disorders that affect millions of people and some of the common sleep disorders are as follows:

1. Insomnia

Insomnia is a common sleep complaint and the symptoms of insomnia can be caused by different biological, psychological and social factors. Most often, an individual experiences an inadequate amount of sleep even though the person had an opportunity to get full night sleep. A person is said to be suffering from insomnia if it persistently finds hard to fall asleep or stay asleep. Insomnia is basically of two types:

  • Primary insomnia is a disorder that does not develops due to any medical or psychiatric condition.
  • Secondary insomnia is a disorder that develops due to the medical illness. Insomnia can have many causes and some of them may include chronic pain or uncomfortable illness, stress, depression, anxiety, and some medicines and drugs.

2. Obstructive sleep apnea

Obstructive sleep apnea is defined as sleep related respiratory disorder and it causes repeated cessations of breathing which are temporary. It occurs due to the narrowing of the upper airway. Obstructive sleep apnea can also occur in children but it is more common in men and women after menopause. There are many symptoms that occur in people having this sleep disorder such as snoring that is loud and interrupts other people,  jerky body movements, frequent awakenings, morning headache and dry and sore mouth. Undiagnosed obstructive sleep apnea is closely related to some health problems such as hypertension, diabetes, stroke and heart disease.

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3. Sleep Hypoventilation

Sleep hypoventilation is a disorder that occurs due to rise in arterial carbon dioxide tension that is measured from arterial blood flow. With the onset of sleep, a number of alterations occur in respiratory physiology in patients with sleep hypoventilation. With a reduction in tonic neural input to the respiratory system the wakefulness drive to breathe is lost. Sleep associated breathing and gas exchange abnormalities are common in this sleep disorder.

4. Sleep Bruxism

Sleep bruxism is a sleep disorder that is defined as an oromandibular activity, characterized by teeth grinding and clenching, during sleep. There are several risk factors that have been reported to develop sleep bruxism. It is more common and frequent in smokers, and in those people who consume more caffeine and alcohol. This disorder is also accompanied by the increased risk of various problems such as tooth destruction, dental work failure, jaw muscle pain and jaw movement limitations.

5. Narcolepsy

Narcolepsy is a neurological sleep disorder that affects the control of the sleep and the wakefulness. It is a sleep disorder that causes excessive daytime sleepiness and is accompanied by symptoms such as hallucinations, sleeps paralysis, and cataplexy (sudden loss of muscles while conscious). Sufferers of narcolepsy may experience dream like vision where they may hear or see things that are actually not present. This symptom is known as the hallucination. The exact cause of narcolepsy is not known yet but it is noticed that people with narcolepsy have a low level of the brain chemical, known as hypocretin.

6. Rapid eye movement sleep disorder

Rapid eye movement sleep disorder is defined as an unusual behavior while sleeping. People with this type of sleep disorder can lead to talking and shouting while sleeping accompanied by moving vigorously. A sufferer can also experience the vivid and striking dream. Rapid eye movement sleep disorder is a serious disorder that can be dangerous for both a sufferer as well as for a bed partner.



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Jim Carson

Jim Carson is the writer for the mental health section of He is certified in clinical mental health counselling and has conducted cognitive behaviour therapy for war veterans struggling with PTSD. Professionally and personally, Jim is an astute observer of human behaviour that reflects well in his work.