Types of Sleep Disorders
One of the most common types of sleep disorders, sleep apnea can be potentially life threatening. Symptoms include loud snoring, choking or gasping during sleep and daytime sleepiness. The sleep apnea sufferer temporarily stops breathing while sleeping, usually due to an obstruction or a narrowing of air passages.
The symptoms of insomnia may include difficulty falling asleep or staying asleep. Insomnia may be caused by physical problems, illness, stress, poor sleep habits, a sleep schedule that is out of phase with your body’s own rhythm or a variety of other factors.
Periodic Leg Movements
Also known as nocturnal myoclonus, this involves frequent leg movements and jerks that disturb the individual hundreds of times during sleep. A related disorder, called Restless Legs, has symptoms such as tingling or a “creepy crawly” feeling in the legs that makes it difficult to go to sleep.
Narcolepsy causes daytime sleepiness in about four out of every 10,000 people. Sufferers frequently have “irresistible sleep attacks” that force them to sleep during the day. They may also feel paralyzed just as they go to sleep or wake up. An inherited disease, it is marked by extreme daytime sleepiness.
Sufferers awaken with chest pain, coughing, wheezing or a burning sensation in their chests or throats.
Other Sleep-Related Disorders
Some disorders do not affect daytime activities and occur only during sleep. They include night terrors (episodes of screaming, sweating, etc.), bed wetting (episodes that occur in about 10 percent of children above age seven) and sleepwalking.