Insomnia and other sleeping disorders



Insomnia is the inability to sleep. People having insomnia have trouble falling asleep, staying asleep or both. They often get too little sleep or have poor quality of sleep in general.

There are two types of insomnia, acute and chronic. Acute insomnia is short term and is caused due to certain situations such as stress at workplace, pressure to reach deadlines or certain events. Acute insomnia may last for days or weeks.


On the other hand, chronic insomnia lasts for months and sometimes even longer. Chronic insomnia can be either primary or secondary. Mostly, chronic insomnia is secondary, that is, its the symptom or side effect of some other problem like certain medical conditions, medicines, other sleep disorders or even substance abuse.

Primary insomnia is its own distinct disorder and its cause is not known yet. Many life changing events such as long lasting stress or emotional events can trigger primary insomnia.

If you have insomnia, you may:

  • Lie awake for a long time before you fall asleep
  • Sleep for only short periods
  • Be awake for much of the night
  • Feel as if you haven’t slept at all
  • Wake up too early

Therapies, medications and self care help is the treatment for insomnia.

Sleep paralysis 

Sleep paralysis is the inability to move or speak after waking up. Many people believe that this is due to supernatural beings. During sleep paralysis, the person is conscious, but the body’s motor controls haven’t been activated yet. This experience can be very terrifying.

Several things can cause sleep paralysis to occur. Sleep deprivation, medications and sleep apnea can be some triggers. According to Dr Shelby Harris, sleep paralysis is commonly seen in patients suffering with narcolepsy.


  • Unable to move their body
  • Feeling of something heavy on their chest
  • Choking feeling
  • Hallucinations

Due to hallucinations, which are a common symptom during sleep paralysis (as the brain is still in a dream state), People report seeing ghosts, demons and other strange apparitions while experiencing paralysis.

Sleep Apnea 

Sleep apnea is another sleeping disorder in which a person is not able to breathe during sleep. The upper airflow gets blocked during sleep, reducing or completely stopping airflow.

Sleep apnea can be caused due to a person’s physical structure or medical conditions. These conditions may be obesity, large tonsils, neuromuscular disorders, kidney failures and premature birth.

Common symptoms of sleep apnea:

  • Excessive daytime sleepiness and fatigue
  • Decreases in attention, vigilance, concentration, motor skills, and verbal and visuospatial memory
  • Dry mouth or headaches when waking
  • Sexual dysfunction or decreased libido
  • Waking up often during the night to urinate

Leading a healthy life style (eating healthy, no smoking, etc.) is often recommended for people having apnea, especially those who suffer from obesity.

Breathing devices and mouth implants are also recommended in patients. In extreme cases surgical procedures are recommended.

Edited by: Keerthana Suresh


References (Featured image)


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