Disease Where You Can’t Sleep?

When we talk about the disease where you can’t sleep, we’re referring to a sleep disorder known as “insomnia.” People with insomnia struggle with falling asleep, staying asleep, or getting quality rest. This condition can be acute (short-term) or chronic (ongoing), and it often leads to daytime fatigue, cognitive impairment, and other health issues. However, insomnia isn’t the only condition associated with sleep troubles. There are other serious sleep disorders, such as sleep apnea, narcolepsy, and restless legs syndrome, which can also severely impact an individual’s ability to achieve restorative sleep. In the following sections, we’ll explore these conditions in detail, their causes, symptoms, and treatment options.

Understanding Insomnia

What Is Insomnia?

Insomnia is the most common sleep disorder and it primarily affects your ability to fall asleep and/or remain asleep throughout the night. The amount of sleep needed varies from person to person, but most adults require between 7 and 9 hours per night. Insomnia can lead to daytime sleepiness, lethargy, and a general feeling of being unwell both mentally and physically.

Types of Insomnia

There are two main types of insomnia:

  • Primary insomnia: Sleep difficulties that aren’t directly associated with any other health condition or problem.
  • Secondary insomnia: Sleep problems that are a symptom or side effect of another issue, such as illness, medications, or substance use.

Causes of Insomnia

Many factors can contribute to insomnia, including:

  • Stress and anxiety
  • Poor sleep habits and sleep environment
  • Chronic pain or discomfort at night
  • Caffeine, nicotine, and alcohol use
  • Travel or work schedule changes (jet lag or shift work)
  • Underlying physical or mental health conditions
  • Medications that disrupt sleep

Treating Insomnia

Treatment for insomnia can range from improving sleep habits and environment to medication and therapy. Cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT) for insomnia is often effective and aims to change the thoughts and actions that disrupt sleep. Pharmacological treatments should typically be considered only after non-drug approaches have been tried or in conjunction with them.

Sleep Apnea

Understanding Sleep Apnea

Sleep apnea is a serious sleep disorder where a person’s breathing repeatedly stops and starts throughout the night. These pauses in breathing (apneas) can jolt someone out of deep sleep into light sleep or wakefulness, resulting in poor sleep quality.

Types of Sleep Apnea

There are two main types of sleep apnea:

  • Obstructive sleep apnea: The more common form that occurs when throat muscles relax excessively.
  • Central sleep apnea: Which happens when the brain doesn’t send proper signals to the muscles controlling breathing.

Causes of Sleep Apnea

The causes for obstructive sleep apnea can include obesity, nasal congestion, smoking, and use of alcohol or sedatives, while central sleep apnea may be associated with heart conditions or stroke.

Treatment Options for Sleep Apnea

Treatment often includes lifestyle changes, such as losing weight or sleeping on one’s side. Continuous positive airway pressure (CPAP) machines are commonly prescribed to keep airways open during sleep. In more severe cases, surgery may be necessary.


Defining Narcolepsy

Narcolepsy is a chronic sleep disorder characterized by overwhelming daytime drowsiness and sudden attacks of sleep. People with narcolepsy often find it difficult to stay awake for long periods, regardless of the circumstances.

Causes of Narcolepsy

The exact cause is unknown, but it involves the loss of neurons that produce hypocretin, a neurochemical that helps regulate wakefulness. Genetics, autoimmune disorders, and brain injuries are considered potential factors.

Treatment for Narcolepsy

While there’s no cure for narcolepsy, medications and lifestyle changes can help manage the symptoms. Stimulants, antidepressants, and other medications might be prescribed to control the symptoms and prevent the onset of sudden sleep attacks.

Restless Legs Syndrome (RLS)

What Is Restless Legs Syndrome?

Restless legs syndrome (RLS) is a neurological disorder characterized by an uncontrollable urge to move your legs, typically due to uncomfortable sensations. It often occurs in the evening or nighttime hours when you’re sitting or lying down.

Causes of RLS

RLS can be associated with conditions such as peripheral neuropathy, iron deficiency, kidney failure, and Parkinson’s disease. For some people, RLS is familial and may have a genetic component.

RLS Treatments

Moving the legs or walking usually relieves the discomfort but the sensation often returns once the movement stops. Treatment for RLS often focuses on relieving symptoms, and may include iron supplements, medication, or lifestyle changes, such as establishing regular sleep patterns.

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Other Sleep-Related Conditions

Other conditions that affect sleep include circadian rhythm disorders, parasomnias like sleepwalking, and sleep-related movement disorders other than RLS. These conditions also disrupt sleep, though in different ways than the primary disorders of sleep like insomnia, sleep apnea, and narcolepsy.

Finishing Thoughts

Good quality sleep is essential for our wellbeing, and sleep disorders such as insomnia, sleep apnea, narcolepsy, and restless legs syndrome can significantly impact our health. If you are experiencing sleep problems, it’s important to reach out to a healthcare provider to discuss your symptoms and potential treatment options. In addition to medical treatment, lifestyle changes, such as maintaining a regular sleep schedule, creating a restful sleeping environment, and avoiding stimulants before bedtime, can also help promote better quality sleep. Remember, taking care of your sleep is taking care of your health.


  • Aiden Lawrence

    I'm Aiden Lawrence, a certified Sleep Science Coach and senior editor of GoodSleepHub, proud parent of two amazing kids, and a pet lover with a cat and a dog. Join me as we explore the world of sweet dreams and comfy pillows. Let's make bedtime the highlight of your day!

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