Although there are nearly 100 identified sleep/wake disorders, most sleep complaints fall into four categories: hypersomnia (excessive daytime sleepiness without obvious explanation), insomnia (trouble falling or staying asleep), circadian rhythm (biological clock) disorders, and parasomnias (complex behaviours arising from the sleep period). We have briefly summarized some common sleep disorders from these four categories to provide you with an understanding of the breadth of sleep related concerns that we diagnose and treat at Kempton & Nelson Diagnostics.

Restless Legs Syndrome (RLS) is a neurologic sensorimotor disorder that is characterized by an overwhelming urge to move the legs when they are at rest. The urge to move the legs is usually, but not always, accompanied by unpleasant sensations. It is less common but possible to have RLS symptoms in the arms, face, torso, and genital region. RLS symptoms occur during inactivity and they are temporarily relieved by movement or pressure. Symptoms of RLS are most severe in the evening and nighttime hours and can profoundly disrupt a patient’s sleep and daily life.
More than 80 percent of people with Restless Leg Syndrome (RLS) also experience a common condition known as periodic limb movement disorder (PLMD). PLMD is characterized by involuntary leg twitching or jerking movements during sleep that typically occur every 10 to 60 seconds, sometimes throughout the night. The symptoms cause repeated awakening and severely disrupted sleep. Unlike RLS, the movements caused by PLMD are involuntary-people have no control over them. Although many patients with RLS also develop PLMD, most people with PLMD do not experience RLS.
Insomnia, which is Latin for “no sleep,” is the inability to fall asleep or remain asleep. Insomnia is also used to describe the condition of waking up not feeling restored or refreshed. Insomnia is the most common sleep complaint among Americans. It can be either acute, lasting one to several nights, or chronic, lasting months to years. When insomnia persists for longer than a month, it is considered chronic. According to the National Center for Sleep Disorders Research at the National Institutes of Health, about 30 to 40 percent of adults say they have some symptoms of insomnia within a given year, and about 10 to 15 percent of adults say they have chronic insomnia.
Obstructive sleep apnea is a disorder in which breathing is briefly and repeatedly interrupted during sleep. The word “apnea” literally means “without breath.” Apnea is defined as a cessation of breath that lasts at least ten seconds. Obstructive apneas occur when the muscles in the back of the throat are not able to keep the throat open, despite efforts to breathe. This causes blockages in the airway and breathing interruptions, or apneas. Obstructive apneas can result in two problems: fragmented sleep and lowered levels of oxygen in the blood. The combination of sleep disturbance and oxygen starvation can result in multiple problems, including automobile accidents, hypertension, heart disease, and mood and memory problems. Sleep apnea can be life-threatening and you should consult your doctor immediately if you feel you may suffer from it.
Narcolepsy is a neurological disorder caused by the brain’s inability to regulate sleep-wake cycles normally. The main features of narcolepsy are excessive daytime sleepiness and cataplexy. The disease is also often associated with sudden sleep attacks, insomnia, dream-like hallucinations, and a condition called sleep paralysis.
Sleep walking or talking, teeth grinding, night terrors, and REM sleep behavior disorder are among the various forms of parasomnias.