Being subjected to disturbances in your sleep, even on occasion, is an annoying experience and leaves even the most docile of people feeling angry enough to warrant them punching their pillows. As humans and as animals, we rely heavily on sleep for the greater good of our overall health as well as to ensure that we remain sane. If you struggle to sleep, there is a high chance that you are suffering from some sleep disorder such as insomnia.

What are Sleep Disorders and What Causes Them?


Insomnia is characterized by an ongoing difficulty to fall asleep or remaining asleep. People with insomnia problem also experience daytime sleepiness and may have difficulty functioning while they are awake. Chronic insomnia is diagnosed when someone has these symptoms at least three times per week or at least three times a week. 

There are many possible causes such as stress, anxiety, depression, sleep habits, jet lag, and taking certain medications. 

Sleep Apnea

Sleep apnea is a common sleep-related breathing disorder that interrupts regular breathing at sleeping time. People suffering from this condition often snore heavily and may wake up choking or gasping for air. There are mainly two types of sleep apnea- obstructive sleep apnea and central sleep apnea. If left untreated, severe sleep apnea may be associated with high blood pressure causing the risk of heart attack or stroke.


Narcolepsy is a sleeping disorder that causes excessive daytime sleepiness and tiredness. This can cause an irrepressible urge to sleep and cause sleep attacks that typically last for a few minutes. Although in reality, many patients do not have these sleep attacks they experience constant sleepiness during the day. Although the cause of this sleep disorder is not defined it is assumed that genetic and environmental factors can play a role.

Restless Leg Syndrome

People with restless leg syndrome or RLS feel discomfort in the legs as they get tingling or crawling sensations that create an irresistible urge to move their legs. This sensation gets worse when sitting or lying down making it difficult to sleep. The RLS is caused by pregnancy, iron deficiency, Parkinson’s disease, and other factors, but the cause of most RLS cases is unknown.


Parasomnias include a group of unusual sleep behaviours that can occur before sleep, during sleep, or during the transition between sleep and wakefulness. These sleep deprivation issues are more common in children, but they affect adults as well. They include sleepwalking, bedwetting, night terrors, and the unique exploding head syndrome. The exact cause of parasomnia is unknown but researchers have found mixed results including a fever or illness, a frightening or stressful event, or the use of some medicines or alcohol.

Sleep Disorder Treatment

The treatment for sleep disorders depends on what type of sleep problem you are having. The first thing that doctors generally advise is changing your sleep habits, such as:

  • Going to the bed same time each day and getting up at the same time in the morning
  • Don’t nap during the day
  • Stop doing any chores or discussion that is stressful
  • Do some meditation like deep breathing, gentle stretching, or reading books to relax.
  • Keep your bedroom dark, cool, and silent. 
  • Avoid caffeine and alcohol before going to bed. 
  • Quit smoking
  • Remove electronics such as laptops, and mobile phones from the bed.

Apart from this, if these lifestyle changes and habits are not helping you well to combat sleep deprivation, many people also find that a short course of sleeping pills helps to get them over the hurdle of sleeplessness. 

The sleeping medications subdue and calm the central nervous system relaxing the muscles, alleviating feelings of stress and anxiety, and lulling you to sleep. Consult with your doctor about which sleeping pill can help you better.