Sleep disorders are conditions that result in changes in the way that you sleep.
A sleep disorder can affect your overall health, safety and quality of life. Sleep deprivation can affect your ability to drive safely and increase your risk of other health problems.
Some of the signs and symptoms of sleep disorders include excessive daytime sleepiness, irregular breathing or increased movement during sleep. Other signs and symptoms include an irregular sleep and wake cycle and difficulty falling asleep.
There are many different types of sleep disorders. They're often grouped into categories that explain why they happen or how they affect you. Sleep disorders can also be grouped according to behaviors, problems with your natural sleep-wake cycles, breathing problems, difficulty sleeping or how sleepy you feel during the day.
Some common types of sleep disorders include:
- Insomnia, in which you have difficulty falling asleep or staying asleep throughout the night.
- Sleep apnea, in which you experience abnormal patterns in breathing while you are asleep. There are several types of sleep apnea.
- Restless legs syndrome (RLS), a type of sleep movement disorder. Restless legs syndrome, also called Willis-Ekbom disease, causes an uncomfortable sensation and an urge to move the legs while you try to fall asleep.
- Narcolepsy, a condition characterized by extreme sleepiness during the day and falling asleep suddenly during the day.
There are many ways to help diagnose sleep disorders. Doctors can usually treat most sleep disorders effectively once they're correctly diagnosed.
Symptoms of sleep disorders include being very sleepy during the daytime and having trouble falling asleep at night. Some people may fall asleep at inappropriate times, such as while driving. Other symptoms include breathing in an unusual pattern or feeling an uncomfortable urge to move while you are trying to fall asleep. Unusual or bothersome movements or experiences during sleep are also possible. Having an irregular sleep and wake cycle is another symptom of sleep disorders.