Types of Neurological Sleep Disorders

Sleep disorders include various conditions that disrupt the normal sleep pattern. Your brain plays a major role in controlling your sleep. Sleep disorders can be caused by neurological, physical, medical, genetic, environmental, or psychiatric issues. Dr. Risa Ravitz New York can use symptoms and diagnostic tests to confirm your sleep disorder results from a neurological problem. Insufficient sleep can affect your daily activities, mental health, thinking and concentration, and overall quality of life. Below are common neurological sleep disorders.

Central sleep apnea (CSA)

Central sleep apnea is when you regularly stop breathing while sleeping because your brain does not tell your muscles to take in air. The main symptom of sleep apnea is pauses in breathing while sleeping without snoring. The condition usually develops because of serious medical conditions, especially ones affecting your lower brainstem. Conditions that can be linked to sleep apnea include congestive heart failure, kidney failure, stroke, and neurological disorders like Alzheimer’s disease.

Circadian rhythm disorder

Circadian rhythm disorder is characterized by difficulty falling asleep, struggle to stay asleep, and waking up several times during your sleep cycle. You may also wake up too early and cannot go back to sleep. It occurs when the internal body clock that makes you feel sleepier at night and more alert during the day is disrupted.  Circadian rhythm disorder can be triggered by poor sleeping habits, aging, brain damage resulting from conditions like dementia or stroke, and certain drugs.

Fatal familial insomnia (FFI)

Fatal familial insomnia is a sleep disorder that runs in families. It affects your thalamus, the brain structure that controls crucial things like emotional expression and sleep. Early symptoms of FFI include trouble falling and sleeping, muscle twitching and spasms, muscle stiffness, rapidly progressing dementia, and movement when sleeping. In the advanced stage, you may experience the inability to sleep, loss of coordination, deteriorating mental function, and trouble speaking.

Central nervous system hypersomnia

Central nervous system hypersomnias are a group of sleep disorders mainly characterized by excessive daytime sleepiness. They can be caused by other sleep disorders like narcolepsy or sleep apnea or autonomic nervous system dysfunction. Other causes include drug abuse, injury to the central nervous system, hereditary factors, or withdrawal of certain medications. Common symptoms of the central nervous system include recurrent episodes of daytime sleepiness and sleeping longer than average but yet having difficulties waking up and being sleepy during the day.


Narcolepsy is when you have an irresistible urge to fall asleep suddenly during the day. The condition is mostly characterized by four symptoms. You can experience one or more of them. These symptoms include excessive daytime sleepiness, sudden muscle weakness, sleep paralysis, and sleep-related hallucinations that happen right after falling asleep or before waking up. Narcolepsy can result from genetic factors, autoimmune reactions, or low levels of hypocretin, a brain chemical that controls when one stays awake.

Neurological sleep disorders affect your brain’s ability to control the sleep cycle. Common types of neurological sleep disorders include central sleep apnea, circadian rhythm disorders, fatal familial insomnia, central nervous system hypersomnia, and narcolepsy.

Schedule an appointment at Modern Migraine MD for neurological sleep disorder treatment to improve your quality of life.