Dyssomnia is the name given to a group of sleep disorders which cause you an inability to sleep or complications with your sleeping.
There are a few different categories of dyssomnia that can affect sleep patterns. They’re known as:
- intrinsic sleep disorders
- extrinsic sleep disorders
- circadian rhythm sleep disorders
Intrinsic sleep disorders are conditions or disorders that are associated with internal sleep mechanisms or related to other sleep-related medical disorders.
Insomnia is a sleep disorder in which you have difficulty falling and staying asleep.
Psychophysiological insomnia occurs when you’ve learned associations that prevent you from falling asleep. This means that you may worry and make yourself anxious about not being able to fall asleep. This may make you stress about sleep and worsen the cycle of sleeplessness.
Insomnia is commonly treated by a combination of medication and therapy.
If you’re unable to control when you fall asleep, you may have narcolepsy. This disorder affects your ability to control your sleep-wake cycles.
This means that you may or may not sleep well during the night, but that you frequently feel sleepy during the day and may unwillingly fall asleep at inopportune times.
There’s no cure yet for narcolepsy but it’s usually treated and managed with a combination of medication and lifestyle changes.
Obstructive sleep apnea
This is a common disorder which is often a result of the upper airway collapsing during sleep. This causes frequent pauses in breathing which leads to snoring and interrupted sleep habits.
Treatment includes lifestyle changes such as avoiding sleeping on your back. Your doctor may also subscribe a continuous positive airway pressure (CPAP) device to use while you’re sleeping.
There are numerous other disorders that fit within the intrinsic sleep disorder category including:
- central alveolar hypoventilation syndrome
- restless leg syndrome
- periodic limb movement disorder
Extrinsic sleep disorders are caused by issues or conditions outside of your body such as your environment, allergies, or habits.
Altitude and food allergy insomnia
Insomnia doesn’t have to be psychological. It can also be caused by changes in your body due to altitude or a food that you ate that interrupts your ability to fall asleep.
If you find that you have altitude or food-related insomnia you may be able to avoid your triggers to stop the insomnia from occurring.
Poor sleep hygiene
Sleep hygiene is the practice of establishing a regular sleep routine including proper nutrition and exercise.
If you don’t practice good sleep hygiene — such as not turning the television off while you sleep or drinking coffee late in the evening — your poor sleep hygiene could contribute to sleep difficulties.
Nocturnal eating syndrome
Nocturnal eating syndrome is characterized by the consumption of more than a quarter of your daily nutrition after dinner.
This means that you have an increased appetite in the hours before you go to bed which results in an inability to sleep due to increased caloric and sugar intake.
Circadian rhythm sleep disorders occur when a lifestyle or environmental change affects your natural circadian rhythm.
A mild example of this is when it starts to get darker earlier in the winter. Even though your typical bedtime maybe 8 or 9 p.m., you may begin to feel sleepy at 6 p.m. because it’s dark out.
Some other examples of circadian rhythm sleep disorders include:
- time zone change
- shift work sleep disorder
- irregular waking times
- sleep phase disruption
Dyssomnia is a category of sleeping disorders that affect how you fall asleep and whether you stay asleep.
If you feel as if you can’t fall asleep, feel especially sleepy during the day, or are otherwise affected by your inability to stay asleep, bring it up to your doctor. They’ll help you diagnose whether or not you have a sleep disorder.
If they can’t figure out what’s going on with your sleep, they’ll refer you to specialist who can.