Need4SleepUK Ltd

Sleep disorder & insomnia

Sleep disorder & insomnia

Sleep disorder symptoms

A sleep disorder, or insomnia, is a medical condition which affects the sleep patterns of an individual. Some of these disorders can be serious enough that they can interfere with physical, mental, social and emotional functioning. Polysomnography and actigraphy are tests commonly ordered for these type of conditions.

Meaning behind the term

The term ‘sleep disorder’ is a collective term which refers to conditions which affect sleep quality, timing, or duration. As well as impacting a person’s ability to properly function while they are awake. These disorders can contribute to, and be a cause of other medical problems. Some can even be symptoms for underlying mental health issues.

In 1979, The American Sleep Disorders Association published the first classification system dedicated to sleep disorders. Our knowledge and understanding of sleep related health has evolved quite a lot over the past four decades.

Over a hundred different specific sleep disorders have now been identified. This was possible as today’s classifications use complex methodologies. Which categorize these disorders based on causes, symptoms, physiological and psychological effects, and other certain criteria. However, most can be characterized simply by one or more of the following four signs:

  • trouble falling or remaining asleep
  • difficulty staying awake during the day
  • imbalanced circadian rhythm (interfered with sleep schedule)
  • prone to unusual behaviour that disrupt sleep

Any of these could very well indicate a sleep disorder. We encourage those who feel they are experiencing any of these symptoms to consult their doctor or GP as soon as possible.

                                                                        Young man clearly stressed from the frustration of his conditionInsomnia

According to a recent study as well as ongoing research, up to 30% of UK adults are living with some of sleep disorder or insomnia. It is a condition that is defined by a persistent level of difficulty falling or remaining asleep. Despite there being a lot of ample opportunity and motivation to do so, as daytime impairments associated with lack of sleep.

Sleep-Related Breathing Disorders

These are characterized by abnormal breathing during sleep. For some, they will experience abnormal breathing while awake too. Some breathing disorders are highly disruptive for sleep and can lead to major daytime impairments. Sleep apnoea, a common breathing disorder for children and adults, can also cause heavy snoring.

Obstructive sleep apnoea is characterized by disordered breathing episodes, or apnoea’s, during sleep. Central sleep apnoea, causes breathing episodes during the night. The key difference is root cause. CSA occurs when the brain stops sending signals to muscles that regulate breathing, rather than a physical obstruction blocking the airway.

Woman in bed clearly unable to sleep due to a sleep disorder
Woman with insomnia lying in bed with open eyes
Sleep-related hypoventilation disorder

These can occur when sleepers don’t get enough ventilation, causing the carbon dioxide levels in their blood to spike. Obesity, genetic abnormalities, certain drugs and medications, and underlying medical conditions can all lead to sleep-related hypoventilation.

Sleep-related hypoxemia disorder

Hypoxemia refers to below-normal blood oxygen levels. For those with this condition, their blood oxygen levels decrease primarily during sleep. Sleep-related hypoxemia may be a symptom of an underlying medical condition such as pulmonary hypertension, chest wall disorders, or neurologic and neuromuscular disorders.

Hypersomnolence Disorders

refers to sleepiness and fatigue during the day despite a healthy circadian rhythm and adequate sleep the previous night. This may lead to involuntary lapses into drowsiness or sleep, which in turn puts people at risk for accidents. Some people with hypersomnolence disorders feel effects of daytime sleepiness before nodding off, while others will unknowingly fall asleep.

Narcolepsy occurs when those with normal sleep schedules either feel an irrepressible urge to sleep or involuntarily lapse into sleep on a daily basis for at least three months. This condition falls into two primary categories.

  • Narcolepsy Type 1 – which includes cataplexy, a sudden muscle weakness or paralysis
  • Narcolepsy Type 2 – may include some muscle weakness but not to the same extent.

Sleep Apnea and many similar conditions all wrote out in close combination to create an image

Idiopathic Hypersomnia: This condition, like narcolepsy, is characterized by a strong urge to fall asleep or lapses into sleep despite an otherwise healthy sleep schedule. However, idiopathic hypersomnia does not include cataplexy. To qualify for a diagnosis, patients cannot have any sleep disorders or pre-existing conditions that explain the hypersomnia.

  • Kleine-Levin Syndrome: This rare disorder is defined by episodes of excessive sleep – up to 20 hours a day in some cases. The first episode often occurs in tandem with a bodily infection or excessive alcohol intake, and will usually occur every year or so. Episodes can persist for days, weeks, or even months. Common effects of Kleine-Levin Syndrome include cognitive dysfunction, altered perceptions, eating disorders, and disinhibited behaviours. Over the course of eight to 12 years, episodes of excessive sleepiness decrease in intensity and frequency.

Showing 1–10 of 22 results