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The 7 main sleep disorders

The 7 main sleep disorders

March 23, 2024

The dream is a biological process essential for life. There are different sleep disorders that prevent us from having a restful sleep and that affect our day to day with various symptoms that were already mentioned in another article previously. In a previous article we talked about the 7 psychological signals that show that you should sleep more.

Sleep disorders: a general introduction

Today we stop to analyze the disorders associated with sleep .


Among the most common disorders we find insomnia, which affects 25% of the population. It may be due to certain underlying disorders such as depression or anxiety. Insomnia is defined as the inability to fall asleep and stay asleep all night. Each person needs certain hours to feel rested although the normal is between 7 and 9 hours.

People with insomnia often feel sleepy throughout the day, harming this to their daily lives, and at night it will cost them to fall asleep despite fatigue. Within insomnia; the so-called "effect"restless legs "It consists of a tingling in the legs that forces the patient to move them. It occurs at night and makes it difficult to sleep.

More information and tips on insomnia in: "Fight insomnia: 10 solutions to sleep better"

Sleep apnea

It is a common disorder in which the person who suffers it makes a pause in breathing during sleep . It usually lasts little and the person recovers his normal breathing with a loud snore. It is usually a chronic disorder that disturbs sleep as it occurs in the REM phase and he goes to a light sleep causing the person not to rest properly.

The first to notice this symptom is usually a family member since the person does not realize this. The most common type is Obstructive sleep apnea, which is due to a blockage in the airways that prevent the air from passing. It is usually more frequent in overweight people.

If it is not treated correctly there can be serious consequences because in periods of anoxia (lack of air in the brain) neurons associated with sleep can be damaged. And increase the likelihood of suffering a heart attack.

Other less common disorders are narcolepsy and the cataplexy .


This neurological disease is due to a brain abnormality that alters the neural mechanisms of sleep; It consists of sudden sleep episodes during waking hours, being able to fall asleep for 2-5 minutes in any place and waking up feeling clear. It can happen by driving, talking or simply walking. These people lack the sleep of slow waves and go directly to the REM phase. Narcolepsy can also occur in dogs.

Within this disease we find some variants such as cataplexy : It is a total paralysis that occurs during wakefulness. The person suffers muscle weakness and can be totally paralyzed and fall to the ground. What happens is that the phenomenon of REM sleep occurs at an inappropriate time. The person is conscious during these crises.

  • Hypnagogic hallucinations : Live dreams that occur before the person falls asleep. They are dreams while you are awake.
  • Sleep paralysis: It usually occurs just before the dream or when waking up in the morning but at a time when it does not represent danger for the person.
More information about sleep paralysis in: "Sleep paralysis: definition, symptoms and causes".

Behavioral disorders associated with REM sleep

In REM sleep we are paralyzed bodily. If it were not for that paralysis, we would represent our dreams.

In the disorder associated with REM sleep (which is a neurodegenerative disease) patients represent your dreams , getting up and moving without being aware of it. The patient may suffer injuries.

Disorders associated with slow wave sleep

During this phase, specifically in phase number 4 of the dream (one of the most profound), some people suffer from maladaptive behavior; such as somnambulism, nocturnal enuresis (wetting the bed) and night terrors.


In children it is usually due to fatigue, lack of sleep or anxiety; in adults it can be due to mental disorders, alcohol, among others. These people can get up and walk normally, perform actions ... these episodes are usually very brief and if they are not awake they will go back to sleep but they can stay sleeping in any different place.

Within sleepwalking is the Ingestion disorder associated with sleep ; The person eats while asleep. To prevent it, they usually keep food under lock and key.

To learn more about sonabulism, we recommend the article "Sleepwalking: the king of sleep disorders".

Night terrors

Night terrors are more common in children between 3 and 7 years old. The child may be sweating or breathing agitatedly, in shock and very disoriented.

In short, you need a restful sleep to be 100% in our day to day. That is why, in case you suffer some of the symptoms described, consult your doctor and he can diagnose you properly and Take action if necessary . Many of these disorders have highly effective treatments.

Learn more about night terrors: "Night terrors: panic during sleep".

Exploring Sleep Disorders | UCLAMDChat Webinars (March 2024).

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