Common causes of Sleep Disorders

Updated at: Nov 17, 2012
Common causes of Sleep Disorders

Understand Sleep Disorders- Mental disorders and environmental factors are the main causes of dleep disorder. This article talks in detail about the causes of sleep disorder. 

Dr Poonam Sachdev
Mental HealthWritten by: Dr Poonam SachdevPublished at: Feb 27, 2012

Sleep problems can be caused due to several reasons but the common result of all sleep disorders is that the body's natural cycle of sleep and being awake is disrupted or exaggerated. This can lead to poor health and mood, and affect your overall performance (motivation, relationships, and job performance) negatively. Medical problems: Some sleep disorders are often caused due to disease caused in another organ such as chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, sleep-related gastroesophageal reflux, peptic ulcer, fibrositis syndrome, back problems, and neck problems. It is well known that many physical conditions can disturb the normal sleep pattern.


Psychiatric Problems


Many mental disorders such as anxiety, depression, panic attacks, bipolar syndrome, paranoia and schizophrenia can disturb the normal sleep pattern and cause chronic insomnia (insomnia that occurs at least three nights a week for a month or longer). Patients with chronic mental disorders usually have severe sleep disorders and it is considered as a significant diagnostic characteristic. Other specific sleep problems such as tooth grinding and sleep enuresis can also occur in people with certain mental disorders.


Environmental Factors


Habits such as alcoholism and excessive intake of alkaloids such as caffeine can also cause sleep disorders. In addition, light, noise, extreme temperatures and change of bedding can affect your sleep pattern. The common stresses of life such as job loss or change, death of a loved one, illness and even moving,  can cause short-term or acute insomnia.


Other factors


Some other factors which can possibly interfere with sleep are:


  • Genetics: According to some researchers there is a genetic basis for narcolepsy. This is a neurological disorder of sleep regulation which disturbs control of sleep and wakefulness.
  • Working the night shift: As the biological clock of people who work at night is disturbed they often experience sleep disorders.
  • Medicines: Many medications can disturb sleep. So inform your physician about all the medications you are taking (over-the-counter and prescribed medications).
  • Age: Many people over the age of 65 develop some sort of sleep disorder. However, the exact cause of sleep disorder with age is not clear. It is difficult to ascertain if it is a normal part of aging or a result of medicines that the elderly often use.


Sleep problems can be caused due to several reasons. Consult your doctor or a sleep specialist if you suspect you or someone close to you (family or friend) has a sleep disorder. Appropriate treatment of sleep disorders can improve your sleep pattern and duration of sleep.


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