Sleep Disorders

Sleep disorders are problems related to sleep. They are a set of alterations that occur in the different phases of sleep, preventing you from enjoying a proper, continuous and restful sleep. There are many different types of sleep disorders and these can be grouped into four main categories:

  • Problems falling asleep and staying asleep
  • Problems staying awake
  • Problems maintaining a regular sleep schedule
  • Unusual behaviour during sleep

Some of the general symptoms of sleep disorders are:

  • Physical exhaustion
  • Low performance
  • Daytime sleepiness
  • Difficulty complying with professional, family or social obligations

On the other hand, there are specific symptoms that can occur, depending on the type of sleep disorder. Some are:

  • Sleepwalking – a state in which the person gets up and acts semi-consciously during sleep, without realising what they are doing, or remembering what they did whilst sleepwalking.
  • Night terrors – episodes of agitation due to fear that can be accompanied by sleepwalking.
  • Nightmares – unpleasant and frightening dreams that provoke a sudden awakening, both in children and adults.
  • Snoring

Common sleep disorders include:

  • Insomnia (difficulty falling asleep and staying asleep)
  • Narcolepsy (a neurological disorder that affects the control of sleep and wakefulness)
  • Sleep apnoea (disruptions and pauses in breathing during sleep)
  • Restless legs syndrome (unpleasant sensations in the legs, with an uncontrollable urge to move them)
  • Hypersomnia (excessive daytime sleepiness)
  • Parasomnias (sleep disorders that cause arousals from REM sleep, e.g. nightmares and sleepwalking)

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