Sleep Disorder Symptoms and Types

A sleeping disorder is defined as a disruptive pattern of sleep that may include difficulty falling or staying asleep, falling asleep at inappropriate times, excessive total sleep time and abnormal sleep behaviours.

Several common sleep disorder symptoms include –

  • Difficulty waking up in the morning
  • Waking up too early in the morning
  • Difficulty in concentrating
  • Problem with falling asleep at work
  • Feelings of depression, anxiety, moodiness or general irritability
  • A creepy, crawling sensation experienced in the legs at night
  • Snoring on a regular basis
  • Waking up often throughout the night
Signs of a Sleep Disorder?

Difficulty Waking Up In Morning

If you have a difficult time getting yourself out of bed in the morning, even after getting seven to eight hours sleep, and you feel as if you have not slept a wink or if you find yourself waking up too early in the morning and not being able to fall back to sleep you are suffering from a sleeping disorder.

Poor quality of sleep can be as detrimental to a person’s health as can an inadequate amount of sleep. The sleep cycle consists of four stages and during each of these stages our body secretes a number of hormones that play a vital role in regulating our metabolic rate along with other health considerations.

If our sleep is disrupted on a regular basis the sleep cycles are thrown off resulting in feelings of exhaustion upon waking, lethargy and a lack of readiness to embrace a new day. If you experience this problem on a regular basis, a visit to the doctor would be well advised in order for the cause of the problem to be diagnosed.

Difficulty in Concentrating

If you develop problems with concentrating on small or big tasks (at work or home), coordination, reaction time, short attention span or a difficulty with problem-solving, then a sleep disorder could well be to blame.

Getting a good night’s sleep is often underrated. Sleep is a necessary part of the human condition, and sleeping well enables us to function to our optimum best throughout the day. Any sleep disorder left to its own devices can lead to chronic sleep deprivation which can wreak havoc with many aspects of a person’s life including their work, home life, driving abilities, physical and mental health and social activities.

Problem with Falling Asleep at Work

Drifting off to sleep at work or in school can simply be the sign of staying up too late the night before, drinking too much, worrying too much right before bedtime or staying up late watching a film or visiting with a friend. We all have the occasional sleepless night, but when it becomes a constant problem it has developed into a sleep disorder and will very soon begin affecting your life for the worse. Any number of sleep disorders could be to blame, including insomnia, sleep apnea, narcolepsy, or restless leg’s syndrome. The best advice is to seek the assistance of a health professional.

Feelings of Depression, Anxiety, Moodiness or General Irritability

Life in general is easier to cope with on a daily basis when we are well rested and at our best health wise. Look closely into the cause of your mood swings, depression, etc. In some cases a sleeping disorder such as short term insomnia might be the result of situational factors such as a recent death in the family, a move or a job loss, but in other cases it could be something more serious and more long-term.

RLS – Restless Legs Syndrome

Restless legs syndrome or RLS is experienced by 15 percent of the population and is characterized by a creepy, crawling feeling in the legs similar to pins and needles. The feeling can make it difficult to fall asleep, or can wake a person up suddenly and make them want to shake out the discomfort in their legs. Although not considered serious or even life-threatening, restless leg’s syndrome can be a frustrating sleep disorder for an individual. If RLS becomes frequent and extremely disruptive, medications can be prescribed to relieve the symptoms.


Snoring in itself is not harmful, but it can very often be the symptom of an underlying sleep disorder known as sleep apnea. Sleep apnoea is a disorder where breathing is interrupted or stops all together during sleep. The signs that indicate you may be suffering from sleep apnea included gasping for air, gagging, a choking sensation, interrupted breathing and frequently waking throughout the night. There are three types of sleep apnea –

  • Obstructive Sleep Apnea or OSA
  • Central Sleep Apnea or CSA
  • Mixed Sleep Apnea

Waking up often throughout the night

This problem could be the symptom of sleep apnoea or any number of other problems, be they physical or psychological in nature. Quite often waking up often throughout the night maybe due to what is known as improper sleep hygiene. This is basically just down to lifestyle considerations such as eating habits, exercise habits, smoking, drinking, jet lag, etc. The good thing about these lifestyle factors is that they are under a person’s individual control.