Sleep disorder is a condition that disrupts the normal sleep cycle and the person’s ability to get restorative rest. Meanwhile, a sleep disorder impacts the quality, timing, and duration of the sleep you get at night. If you are suffering from restless nights, then you are not alone. Around 55% of Indians are sleep-deprived or sleeping less than 6 hours. If you do not try to treat your sleep disorder at a time, then it leads you toward chronic disease.

Sleep Disorders Types, Causes, Symptoms & Treatment

Therefore, you need to fix your sleep, as various sleeping disorder treatments can help you get out of the restless nights. However, it is essential to know the causes, symptoms, and treatment of sleep disorders to improve the quality of your life. So, let’s untangle them.

5 Types of sleep disorder

You might have heard only about sleep disorders, such as insomnia, but there are over 80 sleep disorders. Here are the most common sleep disorders list;

  • Insomnia: Insomnia is among the common sleep disorders in which it’s difficult for a person to fall or stay asleep. Mainly, it is caused by stress, anxiety, jet lag, hormonal imbalance, and digestion issues. 
  • Sleep apnea: This is a disorder in which spells of interrupted breathing during sleep mostly lead to snoring, causing the body to receive less oxygen. 
  • Restless legs syndrome (RLS): RLS drives a tingling sensation in your legs and propels you to move them. While the RLS is mainly linked with specific medical diseases like attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) and Parkinson’s disease, the precise reason is not known all the time. 
  • Parasomnia: It is a type of sleep disorder that triggers unusual movements and behaviors while sleeping. It often covers sleepwalking, sleep talking, nightmares, groaning, teeth grinding, and bedwetting. 
  • Narcolepsy: it refers to the “sleep attacks” that happen when you are awake. It is out of your control when you fall asleep and stay awake. You suddenly fall asleep without any sign of sleep—this condition is often called hypersomnia.

Causes of sleep disorder

Generally, your body has a natural 24-hour sleep and wake cycle called circadian rhythm. You are active during your waking hours and get tired once the clock strikes for bed at night. When this sleep cycle gets disturbed, the sleep disorder blows up the quality of your life. What causes sleep is unknown; however, some factors can be the reason for this disruption. The most common causes of sleep problems are  

  • anxiety or depression, 
  • medication side effects, 
  • nerve conditions, asthma, heart problems, lung disease, 
  • genetic factors, 
  • night shift work, 
  • caffeine or alcohol before bedtime.

Deep Sleep Disorder Symptoms

The symptoms you experience vary depending on the type of sleep disorder. Here are some of the sleep disorder symptoms you may have at night. 

  • It takes you more than 30 minutes to doze off, or you have difficulty falling asleep at night. 
  • You are having trouble getting a consistent flow of sleep, and you wake up at midnight and fall asleep. It becomes a tough nut for you to crack.
  • Unable to move right after the wakeup.
  • While sleeping, you experience snoring, choking, or gasping.
  • Urge to move arms and legs when sleeping.
  • Sleepwalking or sleep-eating

Daytime Symptoms

  • You frequently take naps during the daytime while carrying out daily chores. 
  • Brain fog—difficulty staying focused or paying attention to tasks at hand.
  • Managing your emotions is not a no-brainer as your mood swings change. Irritability and crankiness happen. 
  • You get a sudden outbreak of muscle weakness when you are angry, laughing, or scared.
  • Lack of vitality or motivation

Risk Factors for Sleep Disorder

While certain people are at higher risk of growing sleep disorders, and some of the factors of this condition include;

  • Smoking, use of caffeine or alcohol
  • Irregular sleep schedule
  • Low physical activity
  • Obesity
  • Older age
  • Overnight work shift
  • Family history of sleep disorder
  • Using a screen before bedtime.

How Are Sleep Disorders Diagnosed?

It’s essential to understand your root cause; your healthcare provider examines your symptoms and health condition. They may do diagnostic tests to evaluate your condition. 

Sleep diary: When you visit your healthcare professional, you may ask to keep a sleep diary to record your sleeping habits. You will track down your sleep basics when you fall asleep, go to bed, wake time every day, and how you feel before and after sleep. You can write down or wear a smartwatch or actigraph device to record your sleep cycle activity. 

Questionnaires: You will be asked multiple questions about your sleep to determine the type and cause of your sleep disorder.

Sleep studies: Polysomnography is a sleep study disorder test used to trace the brain’s actions and breathing during sleep.

Sleep disorders treatment

After you are diagnosed with a type of sleep disorder, you have a list of options to treat this condition. From therapies to medication and prevention sleeping disorder treatments helped a lot to improve the quality of your sleep cycle;

Cognitive Behavioral Therapy

Cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) is a purposeful talk therapy to foster relaxation and tweak behavior revolving around sleep. It treats insomnia executed following the direction of psychologists. The strategies that follow are relaxation therapy, stimulus control therapy, sleep restriction therapy, and sleep hygiene therapy.

Breathing Devices

Another sleeping disorder, sleep apnea treatment, is done by wearing a breathing device like (CPAP) device. Meanwhile, CPAP puts pressure in the upper air passage to keep your breathing stable and discontinue your snoring. Furthermore, oral devices such as mandibular advancement or MAD help you breathe while sleeping. 


If you face a severe sleep disorder, then your healthcare professional prescribes you medication to recover.

  • Sleep-inducing medication for insomnia includes melatonin, zaleplon, eszopiclone, ramelteon, doxepin, zolpidem, lemborexant, or suvorexant.
  • Medication for Restless legs syndrome covers pregabalin, gabapentin, enacarbil 
  • Wake-up stimulating medications for Narcolepsy are solriamfetol, armodafinil, pitolisant, sodium oxybate, and modafinil.

How to prevent sleep disorders

Healthy lifestyle habits can assist you in managing your sleep and reduce symptoms.

  • Take 7-8 hours of healthy sleep at night.
  • Stay away from the screen 2 hours before your bedtime.
  • Meditate and do yoga to relax your mind and better sleep.
  • Do physical activity during the day and avoid strenuous exercises before bedtime
  • Follow the same time of sleep and wake up
  • Don’t eat heavy meals at night.
  • Set a calm, quiet, dark bedroom environment–use a sleep mask if the light disturbs you.
  • Drink herbal teas like chamomile to induce sleep at night.


Sleep disorders impact the quality of life and overall well-being. At that point, you have a crystal clear understanding of the types, causes, symptoms, and treatment of sleeping disorders and in which category you fall. Modifying your lifestyle habits and using therapies will help you improve your sleep cycle. Regardless of that, it’s crucial to consult a healthcare professional to diagnose and treat well according to your type of sleep disorder. Sleep is everything for good health, and sleep disorders lead you toward chronic diseases. So it’s essential to fix your sleep before it puts you in big trouble. 


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Kornum, B., Knudsen, S., Ollila, H. et al. Narcolepsy. Nat Rev Dis Primers 3, 16100 (2017).

Ekbom, K. and Ulfberg, J. (2009), Restless legs syndrome. Journal of Internal Medicine, 266: 419-431.