Common Sleep Disorders

There are about 85 recognized sleep disorders, most of which are treatable. A sleep disorder disrupts and disturbs your overall quality of life. More than 70 million people in this country have a sleep disorder.

Many people who have sleep disorders may be completely unaware of it. Perhaps you think you just are sleeping too much or too little, or are tired due to jet lag. Some sleep behavior may be only noticeable by your bed partner, such as moving your arms or legs, talking, or sleepwalking. Or maybe you wake up with a sore jaw and don't know why.

Some of the most common disorders are snoring, sleep apnea, restless legs syndrome, and insomnia.

sleepy_girlSnoring and Sleep Apnea

Snoring is an indication your airway is not fully open while sleeping. The distinctive sound of snoring comes from efforts to force air through the narrowed passageway.

According to the American Academy of Sleep Medicine, about 10 to 30 percent of adults snore. In the majority of cases, snoring has no serious medical consequences. However, persistent loud snoring may be a sign of obstructive sleep apnea syndrome.

Individuals suffering from sleep apnea stop breathing due to airway blockage by the tongue or excessive throat issue. This may cause a decrease in blood oxygen levels and frequent, brief disruptions of sleep, which cause sleepiness during the day.

Restless Legs Syndrome

Restless legs syndrome (RLS) is when you have a strong urge to move your legs. Most who experience restless legs syndrome (RLS) describe "crawling" sensations in the legs while sitting or lying still, especially at bedtime. Lying or sitting still can be very hard. For some, RLS causes discomfort or pain, which most often occurs in the calves and unlike other limb movement disorders, may be temporarily relieved by stretching and moving the legs. The constant need to stretch or move the legs to get rid of discomfort or pain often prevents a person from falling asleep. Extreme sleepiness during the day is usually the result.


Insomnia is the inability to fall asleep, remain asleep, or sleep restfully through the night; it may include consistently awakening too early. It can last a few days or a couple of weeks and is considered a chronic problem if it lasts more than 3 weeks. Insomnia is often the symptom of another medical problem or stress. Insomnia is especially common among the elderly and women.