Sleep Disorders: Causes, Symptoms And Treatment

Sleep disturbances are divided into three main groups: those associated with dyssomnia, parasomnia and other diseases. So, the symptoms depend on the type of disorder. It’s like the treatment offered.

Causes of sleep disturbance

Chronic insomnia of psychological cause is due to emotional stress. Insomnia is a result of changes in the sleeping environment (hospital bed, noise, light, snoring in a partner) or significant events (illness, loss of a close individual, changes in occupational activities, tests) Insomnia can occur while staying at high altitudes (related to a decrease in oxygen in the air). Sleep disturbances may be related to alcohol or medication. In some patients, drinking 5 cups of coffee may cause sleep disturbances. Insomnia can occur during the withdrawal period from hypnotics. It is said that narcolepsy has a genetic origin.

Minor sleep disorder

The cause of sleepwalking is still unknown. Nocturnal bruxism (tooth grind) begins at the end of the 20th year and most of them disappear naturally around the age of 40. Stress seems to play an important role in the occurrence of this disorder.

Sleep disturbances are often observed during mental conditions (depression, manic-depressive psychosis), the nervous system (migraine, facial vascular pain, Parkinson’s disease, Tourette’s syndrome and Huntington’s chorea) or other diseases (asthma, gastroesophageal reflux disease).

Symptoms of sleep disturbance

Psychogenicinsomnia: Patients fall asleep more easily in unscheduled periods (when not trying to fall asleep).

Exogenous insomnia: Increases sleep time, wakes up frequently at night, waking up early in the morning.

Severe insomnia: breathing difficulties (pause breathing) appear during sleep. Subjects often woke up on the first night, especially at high altitudes, complaining of poor sleep quality.

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Sleepwalking is characterized by automatic activity (wake up, walking) during sleep. The patient loses consciousness and does not communicate. Night horrors occur during the first hours after falling asleep. The child suddenly screams, has severe sweating, increased heart rate, and shortness of breath. Waking up can be difficult, and the child hardly remembers this episode the next morning. Recurrence is rare. Nightmares (anxiety that occur during the dream period) sometimes reminds us of this episode with complete awakening.


For psychogenic insomnia: Behavioral therapy is often beneficial. Relaxation sessions improve sleep in patients with severe anxiety. In some cases, hypnotics may be prescribed. In the case of exogenous insomnia, it is usually advised to have a bedtime consciousness to remove the responsible factor and allow you to fall asleep (not taking a hot shower just before a large amount of eating, strenuous physical exertion, or sleeping), and by adjusting your bedroom environment, recovery usually takes a few weeks. It is done within sleep.

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For severe insomnia: Prior treatment with acetazolamide may be effective.

For sleep disorders related to alcohol or drug intake: Treatment consists of the eviction of responsible drugs, in some cases it can be difficult and requires specialized care of the patient (psychological support…). As a preventive measure, your doctor should prescribe as few sleeping pills as possible for general use (the duration of treatment should be as short as possible and the dosage should be reduced).

Treatment for narcolepsy has symptoms. To improve drowsiness, stimulants (methylphenidate) are used. Treatment of tension, hallucinations and sleep paralysis is based on antidepressants.There is no effective cure for sleepwalking.

Treatment of nocturnal bruxism is necessary because in the most severe cases there is a risk of dental deformity are rubber gutters, psychological treatment in case of severe stress.

Always take an experts advise any type of treatment.

This views expressed in the article should not be considered as a substitute for a physicians advice. Please consult your treating physician for more details.