Sleep disorders classification

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Sleep disorders are very common in the population. They affect children, adults and the elderly.

The most common sleep disorder is insomnia, both acute and chronic. Snoring, obstructive apnoea, sleepwalking, sleep paralysis and restless leg syndrome are also very common; each of them separately affecting 5% of the population temporarily or chronically.

There are other less common disorders, such as REM sleep behaviour disorder, night eating syndrome, catathrenia, narcolepsy and fatal familial insomnia; however, it is important to know about them due to their seriousness.

There are also differences between the sexes. Pregnancy and menopause are associated with specific sleep disorders in women. In men, however, nocturia due to prostate problems is a cause of sleep fragmentation.

From a neurological point of view, it is important to know that some autoimmune and neurodegenerative diseases and some types of cancer are often associated with sleep disorders; so these can be a common reason for consulting a doctor. Some examples are multiple sclerosis, Parkinson's disease, Alzheimer's disease and central nervous system tumours.

Those associated with difficulty falling and staying asleep:

Chronic insomnia, restless legs syndrome

Those associated with excessive daytime sleepiness:

Narcolepsy, sleep apnoea, idiopathic hypersomnia

Disorders with abnormal behaviour during sleep or parasomnias:

Sleepwalking, sleep terrors, REM sleep behaviour disorder

Circadian rhythm disorders:
Due to jet lag, shift work, delayed sleep phase syndrome or advanced sleep phase syndrome.

Substantiated information by:

Alejandro Iranzo de Riquer

Published: 26 May 2022
Updated: 15 June 2022


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