• Common Sleep Disorders

  • Common sleep disorders at Parker Hospital in Parker, Colorado You do not have to settle for poor sleep, daytime sleepiness, irritability or other symptoms associated with sleep disorders. There are very effective treatments for most sleep problems. While there are more than 70 distinct sleep disorders, (link to Centura Health Info website – sleep disorders) these are the most common: (collapse list)

    Obstructive Sleep Apnea

    After falling asleep a blockage in the upper airway develops which restricts or stops breathing in this serious condition. The brain senses the pause and sends a signal to breathe. Breathing resumes, often with a loud snort or gasp, and the sleep cycle is interrupted. This condition affects the entire body, and if left untreated, can lead to more severe health concerns. Often, those with OSA also have daytime sleepiness.


    This condition is the inability to fall asleep and/or stay asleep. Insomnia is the most commonly reported sleep disorder, affecting 1/3 of the adult population over the course of a lifetime, according to the American Academy of Sleep Medicine. It can be its own disorder or it can also be a symptom of other disorders. Therefore careful evaluation of your sleep hygiene, history, medications and sleep patterns is needed to adequately treat insomnia. Often sleep testing is needed to rule out other disorders that might be causing sleep interruption.


    This disorder affects the part of the brain that regulates sleep and wakefulness. Narcolepsy is a lifelong condition that usually appears in early adulthood. It is characterized by the sudden onset of drowsiness or excessive daytime sleepiness, sudden loss of muscle control, sleep paralysis, fragmented sleep and vivid dreams, although symptoms range in severity. There are very effective medications that can mitigate symptoms and restore a sense of normalcy to the lives of those diagnosed with this condition.

    Circadian Rhythm Disorders

    Humans have an internal, 24-hour biological clock known as the circadian rhythm which helps regulate our wake/sleep cycle. This rhythm is sensitive to sunlight, creating a natural waking cycle during the day and a sleeping pattern at night. Disruptions to this cycle cause the clock to unpredictably shift the body’s wake/sleep cycle, causing significant problems. Shift workers are particularly at risk for this sleep disorder.


    Parasomnias are a group of behaviors that includes sleepwalking, night terrors, teeth grinding and other unusual events that occur while sleeping. Usually a consultation with a sleep specialist is recommended for this type of disorder if it becomes disruptive to daily life.

    Periodic Limb Movements in Sleep (PLMS) / Restless Leg Syndrome

    Characterized by leg cramping, twitching, pain and general discomfort in the legs, these intermittent limb movements can be very disruptive to sleep causing frequent waking, un-refreshed sleep and excessive daytime sleepiness.

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