Alaska Sleep Education Center

What are the Types of Sleep Disorders? A Full List of Sleep Disorders

Posted by Kevin Phillips

Find me on:
on Feb 4, 2015 2:49:00 PM


The field of sleep medicine is constantly evolving as more research is being conducted to better understand the symptoms, causes, and best treatments for sleep disorders. Organizations such as the American Academy of Sleep Medicine (AASM) have been at the forefront in advancing the field since 1970.

Throughout the decades as more research and studies were conducted, the amount of sleep disorders being discovered began to rapidly increase. In 1990 The AASM, along with other professional societies including the European Sleep Research Society, The Japanese Society of Sleep Research, and the Latin American Sleep Society published the International Classification of Sleep Disorders (ICSD), which is a "primary diagnostic, epidemiological, and coding resource for clinicians and researchers in the field of sleep and sleep medicine."

How Sleep Disorders are Classified

The ICSD was put together for the purpose to "discriminate between disorders and to facilitate an understanding of symptoms, etiology, and pathophysiology that allows for appropriate treatment" (source). Since the release of the first edition in 1990, the ICSD published a 2nd edition in 2005, and is now on its 3rd edition, published in 2014.

Some of the biggest differences between the 2nd and 3rd editions are how the various sleep disorders were divided into categories. The 2005 edition used 3 broad categories to organize all of the sleep disorders under either dysommnias (disorders making getting to sleep or staying asleep difficult), parasomnias (disorders that intrude into the sleep process), and sleep disorders associated with a mental, neurologic, or other medical disorders (disorders whose symptoms are not primary unto themselves but caused by other conditions).

The updated 3rd edition now classifies sleep disorders under 6 major categories: insomnia, sleep related breathing disorders, central disorders of hypersomnolence, circadian rhythm sleep-wake disorders, parasomnias, and sleep related movement disorders.

The ICSD-3 Sleep Disorder Categories [1]

*For further information on various disorders click the highlighted disorders for in depth articles.*

1. Insomnia

The ICSD-3 defines insomnia as "a repeated difficulty with sleep initiation, duration, consolidation, or quality that occurs despite adequate opportunity and circumstances for sleep, and results in some form of daytime impairment."

The ICSD-3 groups insomnia into 4 major categories listed below.

a. Chronic insomnia disorder
b. Short-term insomnia disorder
c. Other insomnia disorder
d. Isolated symptoms and normal variant

2. Sleep-related breathing disorders

These disorders are divided into those of central origin (characterized by a lack of breathing effort) and those caused by an obstruction of the airways.

i. Obstructive sleep apnea, adult
ii. Obstructive sleep apnea, pediatric
i. Central sleep apnea with Cheyne-Stokes breathing
ii. Central sleep apnea due to a medical disorder w/o Cheyne-Stokes breathing
iii. Central sleep apnea due to high altitude periodic breathing
iv. Central sleep apnea due to medicaiton or substance
v. Primary central sleep apnea
vi. Primary central sleep apnea of infancy
vii. Primary central sleep apnea of prematurity
viii. Treatment-emergent central sleep apnea
c. Sleep-related hypoventilation disorders
i. Obesity hypoventilation syndrome
ii. Congenital central alveoloar hypoventilation syndrome
iii. Late-onset central hypoventilation with hypothalamic dysfunction
iv. Idiopathic central alveolar hypoventilation
v. Sleep-related hypoventilation due to medication or substance
vi. Sleep-related hypoventilation due to medical disorder
d. Sleep-related hypoxemia disorder
e. Isolated symptoms and normal variants
ii. Catathrenia

3. Central disorders of hypersomnolence

The ICSD-3 categorizes this class of sleep disorders as those in which "the primary complaint is daytime sleepiness not caused by disturbed nocturnal sleep or misaligned circadian rhythms."

e. Hypersomnia due to a medical disorder
f. Hypersomnia due to a medication or substance
g. Hypersomnia associated with a psychiatric disorder
h. Insufficient sleep syndrome

4. Circadian rhythm sleep-wake disorders


These disorders are characterized by a disturbance or disruption to the normal circadian rhythm, which causes patients to experience excessive daytime sleepiness, insomnia, or both.

a. Delayed sleep-wake phase disorder
b. Advanced sleep-wake phase disorder
c. Irregular sleep-wake rhythm
d. Non-24-hour sleep-wake rhythm disorder
g. Circadian rhythm sleep-wake disorder not otherwise specified (NOS)

5. Parasomnias

A parasomnia is an unwanted physical movement or action during sleep. This group of disorders is classified by disorders or arousal from NREM sleep, those associated with REM sleep, and other parasomnias.

a. NREM-related parasomnias
i. Disorders of arousal from NREM sleep
ii. Confusional arousals
iii. Sleepwalking
v. Sleep-related eating disorders
b. REM-related parasomnias
c. Other parasomnias
ii. Sleep-related hallucinations
iii. Sleep enuresis
iv. Parasomnia due to medical disorder
v. Parasomnia due to medication or substance
vi. Parasomnia, unspecified
d. Isolated symptoms and normal variants
i. Sleep talking

6. Sleep-related movement disorders


This class of disorders is characterizeed by simple, often repetitive movements during sleep or wake that can disrupt the sleep of the patient, the patient's bed partner, or both.

c.Sleep related leg cramps
e. Sleep-related rhythmic movement disorder
f. Benign sleep myoclonus of infancy
g. Propriospinal myoclonus at sleep onset
h. Sleep-related movement disorder due to medical disorder
i. Sleep-related movement disorder due to medication or substance
j. Sleep-related movement disorder, unspecified

What to do if you suspect you have a sleep disorder

With over 80 listed sleep disorders, and more that are being researched, it's important for patients suffering from the various types of sleep disorders to seek medical treatment. If you believe that your sleep problems may be caused by a disorder, there are many things you can do to solve your sleep issues from DIY tips and tricks such as practicing better sleep hygiene, to contacting a sleep clinic to schedule an inlab sleep study, or an at home sleep test for certain pre-screened disorders such as obstructive sleep apnea.

If you live in Alaska and think you may be suffering from one of the many sleep disorders listed above, you can take advantage of a free 10-minute phone consultation with the Alaska Sleep Clinic where one of our trained sleep specialists can help determine whether or not you need to have a sleep study to diagnose your condition. To get this free offer click on the link below.

Finally - Sleep Consultation


Topics: sleep disorders, sleep problems

Subscribe to our Blog

Alaska Sleep Clinic's Blog

Our weekly updated blog aims to provide you with answers and information to all of your sleeping questions.

New Call-to-action
Got Sleep Troubles

Sleep Apnea ebook

New Call-to-action


Popular Articles

Posts by Topic

see all