Sleep Disorders things you must know

Sleep is an integral part of staying healthy. Sleep aides body recover from the daily fatigues and toils. On average there are varying amount of sleep one requires in different stages of life.  It is recommended that infants require 14-15 hours of sleep per day, the daily sleep requirements reduces to 8-10 hours for teenagers and 7-9 hours for most adults.

Sleep disorder or Somnipathy is a medical condition involving abnormal sleeping patterns of a person. While most sleep disorders are mild in nature; some sleep disorders are serious enough to interfere with normal physical, mental, social and emotional functioning

Sleep disorders are broadly categorized as three

  • Dyssomnias- a broad category including insomnia and hypersomnolence (too much sleep)
  • Parasomnias – strange behaviours during sleep
  • Medical or psychiatric conditions that can produce somnipathy

We would only be looking at Dyssomnias and its effects on health in this article.


There are a million causes of insomnia and a million ways it plays out in the nights of individual sleepers.  The most common sleep disorder, insomnia is what people mean when they say they are having trouble sleeping, or aren’t sleeping well. A more formal name is Difficulty Initiating and Maintaining Sleep (DIMS).

Insomnia can be classified along different characteristics: cause, time, and night-time sleep patterns are the most common ways to define types of insomnia. When insomnia is the primary problem it is called the Primary insomnia, there are no other underlying causes for insomnia or causes. When insomnia is a side-effect of medication or other underlying health condition it is referred to as secondary Insomnia

Sleep Apnea:

Sleep apnea, sometimes spelled "apnoea" - one of the most potentially dangerous sleep disorders - is when the patient stops breathing during regular sleep. The term apnea literally means "without breath". The period of stoppage is usually short (a few seconds) before breathing resumes. The seriousness of apnea varies considerably and depends on how long the sleep stoppages are how many happen. The most common type of sleep apnea is Obstructive sleep apnea (OSA) is an obstruction of the airway passage that results in a decreased level of oxygen in the blood.


Narcolepsy causes frequent daytime sleepiness and falling asleep spontaneously even if the afflicted person gets a normal amount of sleep at night. These "sleep attacks" can last from several seconds to more than 30 minutes and can include cataplexy (loss of muscle control during emotional situations), hallucinations and temporary paralysis upon awakening. The disorder is usually hereditary though it can be brought on by brain damage or neurological disease. Increasingly, it is considered an autoimmune diseases. Symptoms usually appear during adolescence.


Hypersomnia is the opposite of insomnia. People with hypersomnia sleep too much. Of course, "too much" is a subjective evaluation. You can always argue that the person "needs" that much sleep, and in reality, there is no fixed amount of sleep that's right for everyone.

But serious health professional try to define hypersomnia as a real medical phenomenon. It is an excessively deep or prolonged major sleep period – a time of 10 hours per night is thrown around, although there are no specific diagnostic criteria on length of sleep. Hypersomniacs do not find night-time sleep refreshing either; they are still sleepy during the day. In addition to a long night-time sleep period the hypersomniac naps during the day, often repeatedly. At its worst, these naps take place at socially awkward times, and they do not leave the hypersomnia feeling refreshed. Many people experience hypersomnia periodically with episodes occurring weeks or months apart.