Types of Sleep Disorders

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Sleep disorders can be difficult to diagnose, primarily because there are a wide variety of sleep disorders with similar symptoms. To accurately assess your particular sleep disorder and get a personalized treatment plan, the professional sleep technologists at one of BayCare’s Sleep Disorders Centers in the Tampa Bay area can conduct an overnight sleep study, called a polysomnogram.

A polysomnogram monitors how long it takes you to fall asleep and how long it takes you to enter REM sleep, in addition to measuring your airflow, heartbeat, blood oxygen level, brain wave patterns, eye movements, and leg movements. Once the relevant information is gathered, our physicians will evaluate the results and determine which of the following types of sleep disorders you may be suffering from:

  • Central sleep apnea (CSA) – a condition that involves breathing disruptions during sleep; CSA is caused by the brain sending improper signals to respiratory muscles
  • Circadian rhythm sleep disorder – disruptions in a person’s internal body clock, or circadian rhythm; jet lag and shift work disorder are the most common examples of circadian rhythm disorders
  • Hypersomnia – a condition described as extreme sleepiness that can make it difficult to stay awake during the day; disorders like sleep apnea can cause hypersomnia
  • Insomnia – a sleep disorder that makes it hard to fall asleep or stay asleep; periods of sleep may be restless and shallow, resulting in fatigue and fogginess during the day
  • Narcolepsy – a neurological condition that causes daytime sleepiness, muscle weakness, and/or sudden periods of sleep during the daytime that cannot be controlled
  • Obstructive sleep apnea (OSA) – a sleep disorder that causes breathing to stop and start suddenly; unlike CSA, OSA is caused when the airway is blocked by relaxed throat muscles
  • Parasomnias – a broad term that refers to disruptive sleep disorders that can occur while falling asleep, during any stage of sleep, or when waking up; some of the most common parasomnias include:

    • Confusional arousals – confusion, exaggerated slowness, or memory lapses that occur when someone is awakened from a deep sleep; also called excessive sleep inertia
    • Nightmares – feelings of fear, terror, or anxiety that occur during sleep due to dreamed events; nightmares can be caused by depression, anxiety, illnesses, or certain medications
    • REM sleep behavior disorder (RBD) – RBD involves dramatic or violent dreams during REM (rapid eye movement) sleep and may involve some degree of sleep paralysis
    • Sleep enuresis – also called bedwetting, sleep enuresis involves an inability to maintain urinary control during sleep; the condition may be caused by certain illnesses or psychiatric disorders
    • Sleep paralysis – an inability to move one’s body or limbs while sleeping or waking; episodes of paralysis are usually interrupted by sound or touch; also called atonia
    • Sleep terrors – a condition that causes someone to wake suddenly and in a terrified state; night terrors usually render people confused, disoriented, and unresponsive for about 15 minutes
    • Sleep walking – a disorder that causes someone to appear awake and mobile, though he or she is still asleep; sleep walkers usually have no memory of these episodes
  • Periodic limb movement disorder (PLMD) – a sleep disorder that causes rhythmic movements of the limbs during sleep, most often in the legs; PLMD may be triggered by narcolepsy, Parkinson’s disease, or certain medications
  • Restless leg syndrome (RLS) – a condition that causes the legs to feel restless or uncomfortable while laying down or sitting; RLS often disrupts sleep and can cause daytime fatigue; research suggests that RLS may be caused by an imbalance of dopamine, which is a brain chemical that helps regulate bodily movements
  • Shift work disorder – a sleep disorder often experienced by individuals who work night shifts, making it difficult for them to sleep during the day; shift work disorder involves a disruption in the body’s circadian rhythm
  • Snoring – snoring involves an obstruction of the airway while sleeping, which is caused by relaxed throat muscles that vibrate and make a hoarse sound as air escapes; snoring may be a sign of obstructive sleep apnea
  • Teeth grinding – also called bruxism, this sleep disorder is characterized by unconscious grinding or clenching of the teeth during sleep; in severe cases, bruxism can lead to tension headaches, jaw disorders, cracked or broken teeth, or facial pain

Get a Sleep Disorder Diagnosis from BayCare

Sleep disorders can range from mild to life-threatening. If you think you may be suffering from a chronic sleep condition, ask your physician for a referral to undergo an overnight sleep study at one of BayCare’s state-of-the-art Sleep Disorders Centers located throughout the Tampa Bay area. You can also learn more about our sleep disorder services by calling (866) 328-9932, registering for an informational class or event.