Common sleep disorders

Common sleep disorders can be categorized in two different categories: dyssomnia and parasomnia. Dyssomnias consist of a group of disorders that feature either hypersomnolence or insomnia, while on the other hand parasomnias are more related to abnormal muscle movement, behavior, perception, and emotions.

Some common dyssomnias include the following:

- Insomnia: difficulty to fall asleep and obtain sufficient rest.

- Narcolepsy: the overwhelming urge to fall asleep at inappropriate times, while at the same time experiencing interrupted nighttime sleep.

- Hypersomnia: an excessive amount of sleepiness.

- Sleep apnea: an abnormal pause in breathing that occurs while a person is asleep, or an abnormally shallow and low breathing.

- Snoring: a sound that comes from vibrating breathing structures, due to an obstruction of air movement while the person is asleep. Snoring is often a symptom of obstructive sleep apnea.

- Periodic limp movement disorder: this condition involves an involuntary movement of the limbs during sleep. This disorder should not be confused with restless leg syndrome, which can be voluntary and happens both during sleeping time and awakeness.

On the other hand, the most common parasomnias are listed below:

- Bruxism: more commonly known as teeth grinding. This is one of the most common sleep disorders, and involves a chewing motion and the clenching of the jaw as a subconscious process during sleep.

- REM disorder: this is related to the onset of abnormal behavior during the REM sleep stage. The loss of normal muscle paralysis during this phenomenon results in the twitching of the sufferer's limbs during unconscious sleep. Sometimes more complex muscle movements are involved.

- Bedwetting: involuntary urination while sleeping.

- Exploding head syndrome: a disorder in which the patient wakes up in the middle of the night after perceiving a very loud sound coming from inside his or her own head. Although a very unpleasant experience, it appears that no serious damage derives from this disorder.

Other common sleep disorders within the parasomnia category include sleepwalking, sleep talking, and sleep terror.

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