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7 Common Neurological Sleep Disorders That People Often Encounter Today

7 Common Neurological Sleep Disorders That People Often Encounter Today

Posted On: September 21, 2020

Are you or a loved one having trouble falling and staying asleep? Here are today’s most common neurological sleep disorders that people often encounter.

According to the American Sleep Association, 50 to 70 million adults in the United States have a sleep disorder.

Sometimes, these issues go untreated for too long and get progressively worse before they get to be treated.

If you think you have a sleep disorder, don’t hesitate to reach out to your doctor. Your doctor can refer you to a neurologist.

Keep reading to learn about the most common neurological sleep disorders that people often encounter today.

What are Neurological Sleep Disorders?

A neurological sleep disorder occurs when a sleep disorder meets a neurological disorder. The combination of the two disorders causes a lot of distress on the body.

This interrupts the sleep cycle by causing issues with falling asleep or staying asleep. There are quite a few disorders that people commonly encounter today.

Sleep studies are used as a way to diagnose sleep disorders. There are several different treatment options available for these disorders.

Most Common Neurological Sleep Disorders

The most common disorders of this variety are the ones that we hear of every day. Insomnia, sleep apnea, narcolepsy, restless leg syndrome, and REM sleep behavioral parasomnia are a few of these.


Insomnia is where the individual has trouble falling asleep or staying asleep. Sometimes they have trouble with both of these things. Insomnia is usually a sign of an underlying issue. If this is the case, it will be important to treat the underlying problem before the insomnia symptoms will subside.

Lifestyle changes will usually be the suggested course of treatment. Getting into a nightly routine and staying away from technology near bedtime might help. Some medications may be prescribed to relieve insomnia symptoms and to readjust you to a regular sleeping schedule.

Insomnia can be a symptom of a few of the other common sleep disorders that are found below.

Sleep Apnea

Obstructed sleep apnea (OSA) is a breathing-related sleep disorder where the airway is obstructed when sleeping. You stop breathing in your sleep and your body sends signals to your brain to wake you up so that you can start breathing again.

A CPAP machine is usually used to relieve symptoms. A CPAP machine forces air through your body while you are sleeping to ensure that you are constantly getting a steady supply of air.


Narcolepsy is where you cannot control the urge to sleep.

Sleep attacks occur and you just cannot stay awake. Cataplexy, or loss of muscle control, can be triggered by overwhelming bursts of emotions.

Some medications can be taken to help control some of the symptoms. There are not many cases where this disorder goes away completely with treatment.

Restless Leg Syndrome (RLS)

Restless Leg Syndrome is a sleep movement disorder where an aching, tingling, or burning sensation in your legs causes you to have to move to find any comfort. The onset of symptoms occurs when trying to sleep or sleeping.

The symptoms can wake you up and cause you to have low quality sleep.

REM Sleep Behavioral Parasomnia

REM sleep behavior disorder is when you act out your dreams while you are still sleeping. Your body is supposed to be partially paralyzed while you are sleeping. In this case, your body isn’t experiencing paralysis and your body is acting out.

If you are fighting someone off in your dream, you might be hitting someone sleeping next to you.

Clonazepam has been proven to be a highly effective treatment for REM sleep behavior disorder. An alternative, in some cases, has been a regime of melatonin.

Circadian Rhythm Disorders

Circadian rhythm disorders are common in travelers and third-shift workers. They are the sleep disorders that are caused when the natural sleep cycle is disrupted.

Jet lag is a common sleep disorder found in people who travel a lot, either as part of their job or lifestyle. When people cross multiple time zones, it causes their sleep schedule to get jumbled.

They then become tired during the day and feel more awake and ready to take on the day at night.

Shift work sleep disorder is when a person regularly works the night shift and sleeps during the day. This person is more likely overall to get less sleep than a person that regularly sleeps at night and works during the day due to the conflict in their circadian rhythm.

The best way to get a better night’s sleep for night workers is to have a controlled sleeping environment; keep the room dark, quiet, and cool.

Sleep Terrors

Sleep terrors are a type of parasomnia that causes you to have a terrible dream that wakes you up screaming.

You don’t remember what the dream was about, only that you were terrified. Others will have trouble waking you and when you wake up you will be confused. Sleep terrors can become violent.

Sleep terrors are common in children. No treatment is usually needed beyond making sure that the child is getting enough sleep as a lack of sleep is what triggers the night terrors.

Sleep Disorders Are No Joke

All of these disorders leave you feeling tired even after sleeping all night. Even though you might have slept, the overall quality of your sleep was low. In addition to that, a lot of these sleep disorders are made worse by neurological issues that need to be treated.

The doctors here at Neurological Wellness Clinic can help you!

Neurological sleep disorders can cause serious problems because sleep is very important to the overall health of your body. You don’t have to live this way.

Contact us today to see how we can diagnose and treat your neurological sleep disorder to help you live your best life.

Dr Jochism

Dr. Sean Jochims, Neurologist

Dr. Sean Jochims graduated medical school with the prestigious Rick Wartgow Award for dedication to medicine. He also received Excellence in Teaching Awards as chief resident in neurology at the Medical College of Wisconsin.

  • Medical School: Medical College of Wisconsin
  • Internship/Internal Medicine: Northwestern University
  • Clinical Neurophysiology Fellowship: Rush Presbyterian/St. Luke’s Medical Center, Chicago
  • Participant at Atlanta School of Sleep Medicine
Board Certifications
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