90% of Australians are expected to suffer from a sleep disorder at some stage in their life, with 30% of this group suffering severely. Despite its prevalence, it is estimated that no more than 20% of sufferers have sought help.
Common Sleep Disorders Include:
Sleep apnoea – commonly associated with loud snoring and excessive tiredness during the day. Click here to find out more about sleep apnoea.
Insomnia – difficulty falling asleep or staying asleep at night. Can be caused by stress, depression, pain or another sleep disorder;
Periodic limb movement disorder – repetitive limb movements during sleep, occurring every 20 to 40 seconds;
Narcolepsy – 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 (sudden loss of muscle tone);
Shift-work disorder – the disruption of the body’s 24-hour biological clock (our circadian rhythm) due to irregular work hours, causing excessive sleepiness; and
Unusual nighttime behaviours – such as sleepwalking, night terrors or REM behaviour disorders.
What to do if you suspect you have a common sleep disorder
If you suspect you may have any of the above disorders, talk to your GP about getting a referral to see a sleep physician, or organising a home-based sleep study.