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The most common sleep disorders

23 Feb 2023

Of all the disorders that affect humans, those related to sleep are among the most common. Many people deal with some form of difficulty at bedtime. 

For information, we offer you a list of the most common sleep disorders. If you think you might suffer from any of them, this is NOT a tool for diagnosis. Please consult a specialist.


Insomnia, already mentioned above, is the sleep disorder that most affects the population worldwide: some studies state that almost half of the people suffer from insomnia on a recurring basis. It an uncapableness or difficulty in getting to sleep and/or keeping yourself at it. All people have suffered or will suffer from insomnia, to a greater or lesser degree, throughout their lives.

This disorder manifests itself in the general well-being of the person (making it worse); in work and school performance; in the emotional state (frequently producing irritability); and in a feeling of constant tiredness from lack of sleep at night.


Narcolepsy is sudden sleep “attacks” during the day, unexpectedly and involuntarily. These unexpected sleep episodes can last anywhere from several seconds to about 30 minutes or even longer.

It is characterised by falling asleep suddenly during the day; by temporary loss of muscle control; and temporary paralysis of the body.

This disorder usually runs in families, but it can also occur in people with concussions or head injuries.

Sleep apnea

This sleep disorder occurs when there are pauses in breathing while sleeping and is often accompanied by loud snoring.

Sleep apnea can be of different types:

  1. Obstructive sleep apnea: it is the most common one, it consists of the relaxation of the muscles of the throat.
  2. Central sleep apnea: it happens when the brain does not send the correct signals to the muscles and organs in charge of carrying out the respiratory process.
  3. Complex sleep apnea: results from the combination of the two previous types.

Some of the aggravating factors of this disorder are: being overweight; age; and being a man (there are more cases in men than in women), among others.


Parasomnias are a type of sleep disturbances that usually appear during childhood and adolescence and, although they usually disappear with growth, they can also continue into adulthood. The most common parasomnias are:

  1. Sleep-walking: walking and performing different actions while asleep.
  2. Night terrors.
  3. Nightmares.
  4. Confused awakenings: they happen when you wake up abruptly, with a feeling of space-time disorientation.


Bruxism consists of grinding, clenching, or gnashing your teeth while sleeping. This action often causes headaches, jaw pain, and a feeling of pressure under the eyes. 

This disorder appears in people who are enduring high levels of stress: the greater the stress, the more intense bruxism can become.

Restless Legs Syndrome

Restless Legs Syndrome (RLS) causes a tingling sensation, itching and general discomfort in legs and feet, causing them to move to try and slow it down.

This syndrome translates into sudden jerks of the legs, being especially annoying if you sleep with people. It is also common for people who suffer from it to wake up repeatedly during the night.


Most of the disorders mentioned have different personalised medical or therapeutic treatments to alleviate them. Again, if you consider that you may suffer from any of them, It is best to contact an expert who will provide you with a personalised treatment to your specific case.


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