7 Sleep problems in adults: Know the symptoms and causes!

sleep problems

Ayesha works in a multinational company; she is in her late twenties and has a hectic lifestyle.

Anu is a middle aged busy homemaker with two teenage kids.

Anmol is a college student with a regular teen lifestyle of studies and partying.

Mr.Sharma is a retired government officer in his early sixties with a medical history of hypertension.

You may wonder – what is common amongst all these individuals? They all suffer from different forms of sleep problems!

Sleep problems can afflict a person of any age or gender anytime. We shall know about different types of sleep problems and learn how to identify them.

As they say- a problem correctly diagnosed is half the problem solved! Isn’t it?

What are sleep problems?

no sleep problems

 A normal adult requires 7 to 9 hours of restful sleep. In old age this duration can be around 6 to 8 hours.  A person with no sleep problems gets restful sleep and wakes up fresh and full of energy in the morning.

When you are not able to get good quality sleep at night, you may be suffering from sleep problems.

Sleep problems make you feel tired and sleepy during the day, cause mood swings, make you irritable, impair your memory, and makes it difficult for you to focus well.

You may find yourself snoozing off at odd hours or reaching out for coffee to stay awake and alert during the day time.

If you are going through your day with any of these symptoms, then diagnose your issue as lack of restful sleep and get proper treatment for it.

What to do for sleep problems?

sleep problems in adults

The best way to counter sleep problems is to:

Step 1: Identify their symptoms

Step 2: Know the reasons what causes them

Step 3: Get professional medical help at the earliest

7 Different types of sleep problems in adults are:

sleep problems causes

1. Insomnia:

You have insomnia when you have these symptoms:

-not able to sleep at night

-wake up in the middle of the night and cannot sleep again

-wake up very early in the wee hours of morning

-do not get adequate rest in sleep

-feel tired and irritable throughout the day

If the symptoms of insomnia last for a few days then it is short term insomnia. When the symptoms of sleeplessness stretch for over a month’s time, then it is chronic insomnia.

There are various causes of insomnia or sleeplessness.  

Stress, depression, anxiety, hormonal imbalance, medical conditions, too much caffeine intake, alcoholism can be some of the reasons why you have insomnia.

2. Sleep apnea syndrome:

When your breathing is obstructed temporarily during your sleep, you tend to wake up time and again during the sleep at night. This is known as sleep apnea syndrome.

It makes your sleep lighter and less restful.  You tend to feel tired, irritable and sleepy during the day time. This is a result of disturbed sleep.

3. Narcolepsy:

When you have sudden attacks of sleep during activities like driving, talking or doing any work, you are suffering from narcolepsy.

It is a brain dysfunction that causes these sleep attacks anytime. It can be potentially dangerous to fall asleep suddenly.

Get medical help at the earliest to control its symptoms!

4.  Restless Legs syndrome:

When you get an uncontrollable and strong craving to move or shake your limbs especially your legs it is diagnosed as restless legs syndrome or RLS.

It happens mostly in the evening hours and makes it difficult to fall off to sleep.

RLS adversely affects the quality of your sleep. You tend to feel sleepy during the day as a result of RLS.

5. Sleep Paralysis:

When you have sleep paralysis, you are incapable of moving your head, limbs (legs or arms) or body while falling off to sleep or while getting up from sleep.

Sleep paralysis usually lasts between a few seconds to a few minutes.

Stressful environment, genetic predisposition, substance abuse, medical conditions are some of the reasons that cause sleep paralysis.

It is a treatable sleep problem and needs medical attention.

6. Disrupted Circadian rhythm:

When you are not able to follow the normal sleep pattern of sleeping at night, your sleep time is said to be out of rhythm. This is known as Circadian rhythm disorder.

The different kinds of Circadian rhythm disorders are:

a) When your regular sleep is delayed by two hours or more and you sleep till late hours in the morning.

b) When you sleep in hours before your regular bedtime and wake up earlier than normal people in the morning hours.

c) When you have no fixed sleeping or waking up pattern or take irregular naps through 24 hour duration.

d) When your sleep time shifts slowly to a later time every day, you eventually stay awake during the night time and sleep during the daytime.

e) When your work timings keep changing, your sleep quality deteriorates and makes you tired during the day.

f) When you are flying or travelling across different time zones, your natural sleep cycle may get disturbed due to jet lag.

7. Snoring:

When you make a nasal or throaty loud sound while sleeping, it is identified as snoring.

Snoring happens when the tissues at the back of your throat vibrate during inhalation.

Most common reason for snoring is sleeping on your back or congestion due to cough and cold.

If you wake up with a dry mouth or sore throat in the morning, it is due to snoring.

When you snore lightly your sleep quality remains unaffected. When you snore deeply, it may be related to sleep apnea syndrome.

Identify sleep problems causes to get effective sleep problems solutions!

what to do for sleep problems

You may develop sleep problems due to several reasons.

Once you identify the reason or reasons for them, then you can effectively apply suitable sleep problems treatment.

The various causes for sleep problems may be identified as follows:

-Chronic diseases like Alzheimer’s disease, Parkinson’s disease, hypertension, diabetes, arthritis etc.

-Psychiatric disorders like depression, anxiety, schizophrenia, bipolar disorder, post-traumatic stress disorder (or PTSD) etc.

-Peri-menopause and menopause related hormonal changes in women


-Old age

-Physical, mental or emotional stress

-Care giving to another family member or a new born baby

-Jetlag due to long distance or regular travel

-Frequently changing work shift timings

Timely diagnosis and effective line of treatment can help you counter your sleep issues. You can easily adopt a healthy lifestyle with no sleep problems at all and stay fit at any age!

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