What are the different sleep disorders?

Below is a list of the different types of sleep disorders:

Sleep Breathing Disorders

  • Snoring
  • Obstructive Sleep Apnoea (OSA)
    • Obstructive sleep apnoea is a common sleep disorder in which your breathing temporarily pauses during sleep due to partial or full collapse of the upper airways. These pauses in breathing interrupt your sleep, leading to many awakenings each hour. Some people may be aware of these pauses and may awaken with a feeling of gasping or feeling unable to breathe. However most people with sleep apnoea don’t remember these awakenings, they might feel exhausted during the day, irritable and depressed, or see a decrease in productivity. Symptoms of sleep apnoea include:
      • Loud, chronic snoring
      • Frequent pauses in breathing during sleep
      • Gasping, snorting, or choking during sleep
      • Feeling exhausted after waking and sleepy during the day, no matter how much time you spent in bed
      • Waking up with shortness of breath, chest pains, headaches, nasal congestion, or a dry throat
  • Central Sleep Apnoea


  • Physiological causes
    • Insomnia is the most common sleep complaint and describes the inability to get the amount of sleep you need to wake up feeling rested and refreshed. Insomnia is often a symptom of another problem, such as stress, anxiety, depression, or an underlying health condition. It can also be caused by lifestyle choices, including the medications you take, lack of exercise, jet lag, or even the amount of coffee you drink.
    • Other Insomnia symptoms
      • Difficulty falling asleep at night or getting back to sleep after waking during the night
      • Waking up frequently during the night
      • Your sleep feels light, fragmented, or exhausting
      • You need to take something (sleeping pills, nightcap, supplements) in order to get to sleep
      • Sleepiness and low energy during the day
  • Idiopathic insomnia
  • Restless leg syndrome
  • Periodic limb movement disorder
  • Mood disorders such an anxiety, depression, panic disorders


  • Narcolepsy
  • Idiopathic Hypersomnia


  • REM behaviour disorder
  • Sleep walking
  • Sleep Terrors

Restless legs syndrome (RLS)

  • Restless legs syndrome is a disorder that causes an overwhelming and often unpleasant urge to move your legs (or arms). The urge to move often occurs in the evening when you’re resting or lying down and is usually due to uncomfortable, tingly, aching, or creeping sensations. Movement such as walking or stretching will often relieve these feelings. Common signs and symptoms of restless legs syndrome include:
    • Uncomfortable sensations deep within the legs, accompanied by a strong urge to move them
    • The leg sensations are triggered by rest and get worse at night
    • The uncomfortable sensations temporarily get better when you move, stretch, or massage your legs
    • Repetitive cramping or jerking of the legs during sleep

Period limb movement disorder (PLMD )

  • Periodic limb movements in sleep (PLMs) are repetitive movements, most typically in the lower limbs, that occur about every 5-90 seconds. If you have PLMs, or sleep with someone who has PLMs (also referred to as PLMD, periodic limb movement disorder), you may recognize these movements as brief muscle twitches, jerking movements or an upward flexing of the feet. They cluster into episodes lasting anywhere from a few minutes to several hours.
  • Some people who experience symptoms of restless legs syndrome may experience PLMs during sleep and they can be implicated as a contributing factor in chronic insomnia and/or daytime fatigue


  • Narcolepsy is a sleep disorder that involves excessive, uncontrollable daytime sleepiness. It is caused by a dysfunction of the brain mechanism that controls sleeping and waking. If you have narcolepsy, you may have “sleep attacks” while in the middle of talking, working, or even driving. Common signs and symptoms of narcolepsy include:
    • Seeing or hearing things when you’re drowsy or starting to dream before you’re fully asleep
    • Suddenly feeling weak or losing control of your muscles when you’re laughing, angry, or experiencing other strong emotions
    • Dreaming right away after going to sleep or having intense dreams
    • Feeling paralyzed and unable to move when you’re waking up or dozing off

Other types of sleep disorders

  • Circadian Rhythm Disorders
  • Chronic Fatigue Syndrome
  • Nocturnal epilepsy or seizure