What are the different types of sleep disorders?

Of the more than 80 types of sleep disorders, most can be grouped into one of three broad categories:
  • Disturbed sleep: Any condition that causes restless, frequently interrupted, or poor quality sleep. Examples include sleep apnea and restless legs syndrome, both of which can make staying asleep difficult.
  • Too much sleep: Any condition that causes you to sleep more than what is considered necessary or healthful. Narcolepsy, which causes excessive sleepiness and uncontrollable "sleep attacks," and depression, which can create feelings of lethargy, are both examples of such conditions.
  • Too little sleep: Any condition that robs you of the optimal amount of sleep. Insomnia, characterized by difficulty falling or staying asleep and other sleep difficulties, is an example of this type of condition.

In addition, all sleep disorders can be either primary or secondary. If it's the result of another underlying physical or mental condition, it's considered a secondary sleep disorder. For example, a person may suffer from insomnia when dealing with depression. On the other hand, primary sleep disorders don't stem from other conditions but can often lead to secondary ones. For example, someone who has restless legs syndrome may also develop insomnia because of an inability to sleep soundly. Fortunately, treating the symptoms of the primary sleep disorder will often improve symptoms of other disorders that may be present.

There are many types of sleep disorders. Insomnia, the most common one, is difficulty falling or staying asleep. Circadian-rhythm (also known as sleep-wake cycle) sleep disorders involve going to bed or waking up too early or too late. Hypersomnia is sleeping too much.

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Important: This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.