Sleep Disorders: Causes, Types, Home Remedies, Diagnosed


Medically reviewed by

Bajaj Finserv Health

Mental Wellness

9 min read

Key Takeaways

  • Sleep disorders are often overlooked because people do not think of them as actual problems
  • However, certain sleeping problems can also be caused by underlying health problems
  • To set out on the right path, here’s all you need to know about sleep disorders

There are several health problems that you may experience over the years, some of which require immediate treatment and others that usually go unnoticed. Sleep disorders are of the second type and many of these are overlooked simply because you may not think of them as actual problems. These affect your ability to get a good night’s sleep on a regular basis and cause sleep deprivation, which has serious consequences on your health. In many cases, stress is a major factor that aids the development of several sleep disorder types.

This is why people with hectic schedules or anxiety issues often find themselves experiencing poor quality sleep or have sleeping problems. However, certain sleeping problems can also be caused by underlying health problems. This is why it is important to inform yourself about the different sleep disorder types, their causes, and the ways to remedy them. Armed with this information, you’re less likely to ignore the clear signs of an issue that is affecting your normal sleep cycle and are more likely to get the right type of help. To set out on the right path here’s all you need to know about sleep disorders.

What is Sleep Disorder?

Sleep disorders are a group of medical conditions that impair one's ability to sleep soundly regularly. It could be due to medical conditions or excessive stress. Most people have occasional sleeping problems due to stress, hectic schedules, and other external influences. However, they might be signs of a sleeping disorder if they arise frequently and interfere with daily life.

Those with sleep disorders may have difficulty falling asleep and feel extremely tired throughout the day, depending on the type of sleep disorder. Sleep deprivation can harm energy, mood, concentration, and overall health.

Sometimes, sleep disorders are a symptom of another illness, mental or physical. Once the underlying cause gets treated, these sleeping issues may eventually vanish.

If you think you might have a sleep disorder, it's crucial to consult a medical professional and start receiving treatment as soon as possible. The adverse effects of sleep disorders can have multiple effects on health if they don't get treated.

They may also impact your performance at work, hamper your relationships, and make it difficult for you to carry out daily tasks.

What is the Ideal Sleeping Period for Each Age Group?

Every 24 hours, the human body repeats its natural circadian rhythm and sleep-wake cycle. Even though everyone has different sleep schedules and sleeping habits, most people their age need a similar amount of sleep to stay healthy. You can prevent sleep deprivation and ensure you get the appropriate amount of rest by understanding sleep.

Age-related sleep requirements are here below:

  • Infants: Among all age groups, newborns and infants require the most sleep. Infants typically require 12 to 16 hours of Sleep/per day, whereas newborns generally need to sleep 14 to 17 hours. It includes routinely taking naps
  • Toddlers: They require 11 to 14 hours of sleep each night. A crucial component of their sleep cycle is napping
  • Preschoolers: Preschool-aged children typically require 10 to 13 hours of sleep per night, with naps often serving as a supplement
  • Children of school age (ages 6 to 12): Children between this age group must get 9 to 12 hours of sleep each day. It can sometimes include napping, but not always
  • Adolescents: Adolescents require 8 to 10 hours of sleep each night. They tend to stay up late and then sleep in late to get enough sleep because their natural circadian rhythms do not get wired for early mornings
  • Adults: Everyone over 18 needs at least 7 hours of sleep each night
  • Older adults: Adults should aim for a sleep duration of 7 to 9 hours per night between the age 61 and 64
  • Retirees: Adults over 65 and older typically need 7 to 8 hours of sleep per day. People need less sleep as they age because their melatonin levels are less stable

Different Sleep Disorders Types

These are 4 sleep disorders types that you should be aware of,

Sleep apnoea

The main symptoms of sleep apnoea include short pauses in breathing during sleep. These pauses can wake you up during sleep and it is a serious condition. With this sleep disorder, there are 2 types: central sleep apnoea and obstructive sleep apnoea. Sleep apnoea treatment requires specialised medical attention due to its complexity.


This condition refers to an inability to fall asleep or remain asleep. The most prominent insomnia causes include stress and anxiety. Insomnia symptoms include impaired concentration, weight fluctuation, increased irritability and depression. Insomnia treatment can include vitamin supplementation, sleeping pills, and destressing

Restless Leg Syndrome (RLS)

With this condition, there is an unexplained urge to move the legs. In some cases, a tingling sensation in the leg prompts movement. The true cause of restless leg syndrome isn’t known but it is associated to health conditions like Parkinson’s disease and ADHD.


Narcolepsy symptoms refer to sleep paralysis and sleep attacks, which occur when the affected feel extreme tiredness while awake and fall asleep without any warning whatsoever. It is associated with neurological disorders. Narcolepsy treatment includes stimulants to help patients stay awake. Regular exercise is also said to help in this regard.

Each of these have different causes and affect a normal sleep cycle uniquely. With a better understanding of these sleep disorders, take a look at their causes.

Additional Read:  What is Insomnia

Symptoms of Sleep Disorders

Basis the type and severity of the sleeping disorder, there are various symptoms. They might differ if another condition is the cause of the sleep disorder. However, general indicators of sleep disorders include: 

  • Difficulty falling or staying asleep
  • Daytime fatigue
  • A powerful desire to nap during the day
  • Unusual breathing patterns
  • Urges to move unusually or unpleasantly while dozing off 
  • Unusual movement while asleep
  • Unintentional changes to your sleep/wake schedule
  • Irritability or anxiety
  • Impaired performance at work or school
  • Lack of concentration 
  • Depression
  • Weight gains

What Causes Sleep Disorders?

A wide range of diseases, conditions, and disorders can cause sleep disturbances. In several situations, sleep disorders arise due to an underlying health issue.

Allergies and breathing issues

Breathing at night can be difficult due to upper respiratory infections, allergies, and colds. Nasal breathing issues are another element that might prevent you from falling asleep.

Often urinating

Due to nycturia, or frequent urination, you might get up in the middle of the night. This condition may develop due to hormonal imbalances and urinary tract conditions.

If you bleed or feel pain while frequently urinating, make sure to contact your doctor right away.

Enduring pain

Excruciating pain can make it hard to go to sleep. It might even cause you to wake up after you sleep. Chronic pain can be due to several conditions, such as 

  • Arthritis
  • Chronic fatigue syndrome
  • Fibromyalgia 
  • Inflammatory bowel disease.
  • Recurrent migraines
  • Ongoing lower back pain

In some cases, sleep problems may even make chronic pain worse. For instance, medical professionals think that sleep issues may get connected to the onset of fibromyalgia.

Anxiety and tension

Sleep quality gets frequently harmed by stress and anxiety. Your sleep may also be disturbed by sleepwalking, nightmares, or sleep-talking.

Common Sleep Disorders Causes

Besides the above-mentioned causes specific to each disorder, there are other factors that can also cause sleep disturbances. These are as follows:

  • Nocturia or frequent urination
  • Chronic pain
  • Anxiety
  • Allergies
  • Respiratory problems

How Are Sleep Disorders Diagnosed?

Undergoing a physical examination is the first step of getting your sleep disorder diagnosed. Once the doctor has completed the examination, he/she will process to gather information about your medical history and the symptoms you’re experiencing. Based on these, you will be asked to undergo specific tests.

  • Electroencephalogram (EEG): Used to detect electrical activity in the brain and identify problems.
  • Polysomnography (PSG): This is a lab study which requires you to be asleep and it monitors your oxygen levels, brain waves, and body movements.
  • Multiple sleep latency test (MSLT): This is daytime nap study conducted alongside a PSG to come to a conclusive diagnosis of narcolepsy.

Reliable Sleep Disorders Remedies

Addressing problems with your sleep should be a priority and you can get started on a solution at home. A trusted and long-standing sleep disorder home remedy is to reduce your stress and anxiety levels. Being overly stressed or having chronic stress does have its consequences, one of which is poor quality sleep. Keeping this in mind can help you keep sleep disorders problems at bay for a long period of time.

To complement these efforts and have a healthy, normal sleep cycle, here are a few other sleep disorders remedies to keep in mind.

  • Drink less water before bedtime
  • Consume fewer carbohydrates before bedtime
  • Reduce your stress by exercising
  • Reduce your caffeine intake in the evening
  • Cut down on sugars and increase vegetables in your diet
  • Try to cut out tobacco and alcohol altogether

Types of Sleep Disorders Medicine

Depending on the problem and cause, the medicine offered for the sleep disorder will vary. However, generally, this is what you should expect doctors to prescribe:

  • Melatonin supplements
  • Sleeping pills
  • Cold medication
  • Breathing device

Tips For Getting A Good Night's Sleep

  • Establish an ideal sleeping environment by making your bedroom cosy, peaceful, and dark. Try using earplugs or background noise if the noise is keeping you awake. If the light keeps you up at night, try wearing a sleep mask or blackout curtains
  • Be positive. Refrain from using your bed for purposes other than rest and intimacy. Refrain from using computers, eating, or watching television
  • Write down your thoughts or create a to-do list earlier in the evening to help you relax before moving to bed. It is beneficial if you tend to worry and think while in bed at night
  • Create a bedtime and unwinding routine each night by taking a warm bath, reading, or listening to calming music. Try hypnosis, biofeedback, relaxation techniques, or meditation. Wake up at the same time every morning, even on holidays and days off
  • Stop observing the time. Change the time and only use the alarm to get out of bed. Leave your bedroom if you can't fall asleep in 15-20 minutes. In another room, read a book or relax with a relaxing activity
  • Avoid naps. Take a nap if you are overly sleepy. But keep naps brief—no more than 30 minutes, and certainly not after 3 p.m.
  • At least four hours before retiring to bed, avoid heavy meals and stimulants like coffee, tea, soda/cola, cocoa, and chocolate. Light carbohydrate snacks like milk, yoghurt, or crackers may make it easier for you to nod off
  • Refrain from using tobacco and alcohol for at least four hours before bed and throughout the night
  • If you have trouble falling asleep, exercise frequently, but not within four hours of bedtime

Sleeping well and without any trouble improves your overall wellbeing. Learning how to manage the different sleep disorders types and understanding their causes gives you invaluable insight into the root cause, which can be addressed in certain cases. Moreover, with a better understanding of the treatment and the importance of stress management, reverting back to a normal sleep cycle is surely achievable. However, it is important to remember the role of professional care in addressing sleep disorders. Some are quite serious and delaying medical care only worsens the situation. To find the right doctors to diagnose and treat recurring sleep disorders problems, use the Bajaj Finserv Health App.

With this app, you can locate the nearest, top-rated specialists and avail their services all through your smartphone. The app also enables you to book appointments at their clinics online. Other interactive options include the ability to consult your doctor virtually, via video, thus making remote care accessible anywhere. You can use the app to track your health with options like the step tracker, immunization tracker, and medicine reminder. Finally, the app allows you to learn about your health conditions and get invaluable tips on general wellness. To access these telemedicine perks, download the app for free from Google Play or the Apple App Store today.

Published on 7 May 2021Last updated on 21 Apr 2023

Please note that this article is solely meant for informational purposes and Bajaj Finserv Health Limited (“BFHL”) does not shoulder any responsibility of the views/advice/information expressed/given by the writer/reviewer/originator. This article should not be considered as a substitute for any medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. Always consult with your trusted physician/qualified healthcare professional to evaluate your medical condition. The above article has been reviewed by a qualified doctor and BFHL is not responsible for any damages for any information or services provided by any third party.


Health Videos

Mobile Frame
Download our app

Download the Bajaj Health App

Stay Up-to-date with Health Trends. Read latest blogs on health and wellness. Know More!

Get the link to download the app

Google PlayApp store