The Complete List of All Sleep Disorders [Proven by Science]

Quality Sleep for a Quality Life

The Complete List of All Sleep Disorders [Proven by Science]

June 2, 2017 Sleep Disorders 1
list all sleep disorders

Most of us are familiar with some of the most common sleep disorders: insomnia, sleep apnea, restless leg syndrome… But, did you know that there are more than 50 types of sleep disorders in total?

Check out this complete list of all identified sleep disorders to learn what they are!


About 80 million Americans have a sleep disorder. The International Classification of Sleep Disorders (ICSD) presents the most common method for classifying sleep disorders. ICSD uses four different categories to classify sleep disorders, and it does this based on various characteristics, such as where in the body it originates, what the symptoms are, and how much is known about the condition.

Many of these sleep disorders are very rare; others are simply byproducts of another medical condition such as psychosis, PTSD, or alcoholism. The following list of all sleep disorders comes from the official ICSD document:

(And remember, everyone has trouble staying awake at one point or another. If you’re looking for some great tips for staying awake check out the 12 How to Stay Awake Tactics that Everyone Should Know)



Dyssomnias are characterized by a difficulty falling asleep, staying asleep, or having excessive sleepiness throughout the day (hypersomnia). Some of these disorders come from problems with the body’s Circadian Rhythm, which relates to the time at which a person goes to sleep every night. Insomnia, sleep apnea, and narcolepsy are included in this category.

1. Psychophysiologic Insomnia

2. Sleep State Misperception – Patients mistake sleeping with being awake; they might for example, believe that they did not sleep at all the previous night when in fact they had a perfect night of sleep.

3. Idiopathic Insomnia

4. Narcolepsy- commonly known as excessive uncontrollable daytime sleepness, people with narcolepsy might suddenly fall asleep at random points throughout the day uncontrollably.

5. Recurrent Hypersomnia

6. Idiopathic Hypersomnia

7. Post-traumatic Hypersomnia

8. Obstructive Sleep Apnea

9. Central Sleep Apnea- a misfiring in the brain causes it to “forget” to signal the person to breathe, thus causing him/her to wake up throughout the night for air.

10. Central Alveolar Hypoventilation Syndrome

11. Periodic Limb Movement Disorder

12. Restless Leg Syndrome

13. Circadian Rhythm Sleep Disorder- a person cannot go to sleep and wake up at the times required for work. If allowed to sleep on their own schedule however, they will sleep just fine.

14. Inadequate Sleep Hygiene

15. Environmental Sleep Disorder

16. Altitude Insomnia- caused by high altitudes, altitude insomnia causes people to struggle with falling asleep in airplanes or high mountains.

17. Adjustment Sleep Disorder- occurs while in the process of dealing with a major life event or a loss, results in trouble falling asleep and staying asleep.

18. Insufficient Sleep Syndrome

19. Limit-Setting Sleep Disorder- occurs when parents do not place limits on the child’s time to go o sleep. It can cause the child to have behavioral issues or problems staying awake.

20. Sleep-Onset Association Disorder

21. Food Allergy Insomnia

22. Nocturnal Eating (Drinking) Syndrome

23. Hypnotic-Dependent Sleep Disorder- not being able to sleep without the use of sleep medicine or other drugs.

24. Stimulant-Dependent Sleep Disorder

25. Alcohol-Dependent Sleep Disorder- not being able to sleep without drinking alcohol beforehand.

26. Toxin-Induced Sleep Disorder

27. Non-24-Hour Sleep-Wake Disorder

28. Time Zone Change (Jet Lag) Syndrome- caused by a disturbance to your Circadian Rhythms due to a sudden change across two or more time zones.

29. Shift Work Sleep Disorder

30. Irregular Sleep-Wake Pattern- people who suffer from this disorder sleep take numerous naps throughout the day but are not able to have one main sleep period every day. The number of time they sleep in naps tend to equal the amount of sleep they should be getting if they slept one time at night per day.

31. Delayed Sleep-Phase Syndrome

32. Advanced Sleep-Phase Syndrome



Parasomnias are sleep disorders related to the Central  Nervous System. They include issues such as waking up throughout the night, transitioning between REM sleep cycles, and difficulties during REM stages of sleep.  Nigh terrors, sleep walking, and the like are included in the parasomnia category.

1. Confusional Arousals- causes people to act in erratic ways while or soon after waking up. Patients might experience slurred speech, rude answers to questions, and confusion.

2. Sleepwalking- occurs when a person performs acts while sleeping that should only be performed while awake. An example is walking, but sleepwalkers might also drive long distances or leave the house.

3. Sleep Terrors- experiencing intense fear while asleep; often leads to screaming and moving around while sleeping.

4. Rhythmic Movement Disorder

5. Sleep Starts

6. Sleep Talking

7. Nocturnal Leg Cramps

8. Nightmares

9. Sleep Paralysis- not being able to move or talk while falling asleep or while waking up. It’s often described as a very scary experience that lasts between one to two minutes.

10. Impaired Sleep-Related Penile Erections

11. Sleep-Related Painful Erections

12. REM Sleep-Related Sinus Arrest

13. REM Sleep Behavior Disorder

14. Sleep Bruxism- grinding your teeth while sleeping, may lead to tooth decay and damage.

15. Sleep Enuresis- also known as bedwetting.

16. Sleep Abnormal Swallowing Syndrome

17. Nocturnal Paroxysmal Dystonia

18. Sudden Unexplained Nocturnal Death Syndrome- refers to sudden death in adults while sleeping. The cause is currently unknown. However, it is believed to be due to miscommunication between the brain and heart while sleeping.

19. Primary Snoring

20. Infant Sleep Apnea

21. Congenial Central Hypoventilation Syndrome

22. Sudden Infant Death Syndrome- refers to sudden death in babies while sleeping. It is the most common cause of death in babies between one month and one year. Though it has not been completely confirmed, it is believed to be related to a cessation in breathing due to the baby being allowed to sleep on their belly.

23. Benign Neonatal Sleep Myoclonus


Proposed Sleep Disorders

This is a pretty unique category. It includes sleep disorders for which there is enough evidence of their existence but that are usually very rare and so have not been completely incorporated into mainstream sleep literature.

1. Short Sleeper

2. Long Sleeper

3. Subwakefulness Syndrome- a lack of daytime alertness despite having had good sleep.

4. Fragmentary Myoclonus

5. Sleep Hyperhidrosis- excessive sweating while sleeping. It is often caused by hormonal changes, such as menopause.

6. Menstrual Associated Sleep Disorder

7. Pregnancy Associated Sleep Disorder

8. Terrifying Hypnagogic Hallucinations- this one might explain a few things. People report hallucinations, phantom sensations, or strange sounds during the process of falling asleep or waking up.

9. Sleep Related Neurogenic Tachipnea

10. Sleep Related Laryngospasm

11. Sleep Choking Syndrome- gasping for breath or feeling like your choking while sleeping. This is often related to some kind of sleep apnea.


Sleep Disorders Associated with Other Medical Disorders

This categorization includes mental, neurological, and other medical disorders that portray common symptoms of sleep disorders. That being said, these disorders are generally not stand-alone, and treating the underlying disorder will generally cure the sleep disorder associated with it.

1. Psychosis

2. Mood Disorders

3. Anxiety Disorders

4. Panic Disorders

5. Alcoholism

6. Cerebral Degenerative Disorders

7. Dementia

8. Parkinson’s

9. Fatal Familial Insomnia- only 40 known cases; the patient begins to experience progressively worse insomnia day after day. The average survival time after onset is about 18 months.

10. Sleep-Related Epilepsy

11. Electrical Status Epilepticus of Sleep

12. Sleep-Related Headaches

13. Sleeping Sickness- severe disease caused by a parasite, more common in African countries. Patients usually experience fevers, headaches, and joint pains.

14. Nocturnal Cardiac Ischemia

15. Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease

16. Sleep-Related Asthma

17. Sleep-Related Gastroesophageal Reflux

18. Peptic Ulcer Disease

19. Fybromalgia


If you believe you might have one of the five most common sleep disorders around, check out the Five Most Common Sleep Disorders Adults Often Face.

I hope this list has been helpful for you in learning a more about sleep disorders. If you would like to learn more about any of these disorders, leave a comment and I will write a post about it!


Stay Rested



One Response

  1. Andrea says:

    Very informative post! As a hypnotherapist, I do work with people who have disordered sleeping although I have not gone into the details as you have with the exact disorder…I do recommend that hypnotherapy is looked at as an option for some/all of the disorders you have mentioned. I have had great success with my own clients. Thank you for sharing this!

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