7 Different Types of Sleep Disorders

7 Different Types of Sleep Disorders

What is a Sleep Disorder?

A sleeping disorder is a condition that can create significant changes in a person’s sleep behaviour and routine. Sleeping disorders often disrupt sleep and can have a great effect on your health, bringing great change to someone’s lifestyle and daily routine, highlighting why sleep is so important.  

There are many different types of sleep disorders, around 100 of which are recognised by the medical community. Many are often grouped based on symptoms or behaviours. Symptoms and behaviours can either greatly or marginally vary between different sleep disorders and can be physical or psychological. In this post, we will explore seven common sleep disorders to help with identification and also to suggest ways in which symptoms can be treated.

Different Types of Sleep Disorders


Insomnia is arguably the most common sleep disorder and can take varying forms. Although everyone has trouble getting to sleep or has disrupted sleep on occasion, chronic insomnia can have a large effect on your health. With insomnia, people can either have trouble falling asleep, maintaining sleep or both.

Causes of insomnia can include various medication, anxiety, depression, excessive use of alcohol or drugs, and high levels of stress. Treatment in the form of cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT) is often the first port of call, followed by prescribed medication if needed.

Sleep Apnoea

There are two different types of sleep apnoea:

1.      Obstructive sleep apnoea

- caused by blockage or obstruction within the upper airway.

2.      Central sleep apnoea

- caused by the brain failing to keep you breathing and stemming from the central nervous system.

The most common symptom of sleep apnoea is snoring alongside morning headaches and also drowsiness within the day. As people with sleep apnoea can stop breathing for over 10 seconds per hour during the night, the oxygen levels in the blood drop which takes your body out of a deep sleep state so that you can breathe, meaning that your sleep is disrupted. A simple sleep study usually determines whether you have obstructive or central sleep apnoea. Based on these results, appropriate treatment can then be undertaken.



Parasomnias refer to a group of common sleep disorders described by their behaviours, which are normally abnormal, including sleep terrors, sleepwalking and sleep-eating. In order to ensure the safety of the sufferer, precautions should be taken, and the house should be secured at night. The underlying cause of parasomnias could actually be another sleep condition, with the most common cause being sleep apnoea. Medication is often prescribed to help treat this group of sleep behaviours if the root of the problem isn’t linked to another sleeping disorder.

Sleep Paralysis

Sleep paralysis is fairly common, but can be very alarming if you are unsure of what it is. Normally occurring when you are just drifting off or waking up, sleep paralysis can leave you unable to move for a few minutes while your brain is naturally adjusting. Some people may even hallucinate, which can be terrifying. Still, it won’t last for very long and is nothing to be concerned about, and symptoms often get better once the person understands the condition more.

This condition can occur as a result of lack of sleep, which often derives from an uncomfortable night’s sleep and can be linked back to your sleeping environment and more specifically, your mattress. If you have the wrong mattress firmness or the wrong size mattress it could be the root of your lack of sleep problem, so be sure to invest in one that is perfect for you to avoid this happening.

Restless Legs Syndrome

Restless legs syndrome is one of the most common sleep disorders and is defined by having an uncomfortable feeling in the legs, causing them to move. Usually, the most active time for this is during the evening and into the early morning, and for many, it can really affect their sleep. In severe cases, medication can be prescribed, but generally regular exercise and reducing your alcohol and caffeine intake can really help.

Circadian Disorders

Circadian rhythm sleep disorders refer to a group that disrupts your usual routine and timing of sleep via your internal clock that controls the body’s sleep-wake cycle and natural dark-light cycle.

There are various causes for circadian disorders including shift working, jet lag and recurring sleep interruption.

With properly timed light exposure, circadian disorders can often be reversed, and your normal sleeping pattern can be gradually introduced back into your night.


This is a sleep disorder that can have a very profound effect on an individual’s life as it can lead to falling asleep suddenly or spending the majority of the day in a state of sleep to some degree. Caused by an abnormality in the part of the brain that controls REM (rapid eye movement), narcolepsy is potentially dangerous as the individual could fall into a sleep state at any moment. As such, medication to keep the body awake in the day and help improve sleep at night is often subscribed.


A good night’s sleep starts with the bed and mattress you have. No matter if you are suffering from a sleeping disorder or going through a short-term patch of struggling to nod off, having compatibility with your sleeping environment could be the missing ingredient to getting the good night’s sleep you need and deserve. To check out our full range of beds and mattresses to help you sleep more soundly at night, head back to the Linx Beds main page. Or, please keep reading our blog for more insights into sleep behaviour and the effects it can have.