Sleep Apnea

Which are Some Rare Sleep Disorders that can Disrupt your Rest?


Topics: Sleep Apnea, Insomnia

The human body requires seven to eight hours of rest after staying active for the whole day. It ensures that your system stays healthy and can fight off diseases. Besides providing benefits to physical health, proper rest also nourishes the mind. It encourages the formation of brain pathways and assists with the learning process. It allows you to take in information and recall details. This is why it is essential for all individuals to catch on adequate hours of rest.

But, this is easier said than done. In several cases, sleep disorders disrupt the rest quality and duration. They render individuals unable to sleep well despite the time and opportunity. While some sleep problems are common, for example, insomnia and obstructive sleep apnea, there are others that you might have never heard of. Since they are so rare, people don’t know much about their symptoms or causes. So, in order to help them out, we are enlisting some uncommon sleep issues. Here you go!

Rare sleep disorders you might have never heard of

  • Obstructive Sleep Apnea

Obstructive sleep apnea is a breathing-related sleep disorder in which people experience pauses in breathing while resting at night. It occurs when the soft muscles in the throat temporarily relax and narrow the airway causing a temporary obstruction. Patients with OSA snore loudly and feel tired even after getting a whole night’s sleep. The condition can last for years or be lifelong, depending upon the success of the treatment.

  • REM Behaviour Disorder

People usually get the deepest and most relaxed sleep in the fourth stage when they are in rapid eye movement (REM) sleep. But, this doesn’t hold true for those who are suffering from rapid eye movement behaviour disorder. In this problem, people lash out during the REM sleep, especially in reaction to a particular dream. They do so by making vocal sounds or violent hand and feet moments. Upon wakening up, the REM behaviour disorder patients can generally recall the dream.

  • Shift-work Sleep Disorder

Individuals who work during the night or on rotational shifts face a hard time catching sleep. Following an unusual sleep pattern makes them vulnerable to shift-work sleep disorder. This rare rest problem is associated with the circadian rhythm that encourages you to go to sleep when it gets dark and wake up after the daylight has spread. In shift-work sleep disorder patients, the body clock gets out of sync, which confuses the system about when to be awake and when to go to sleep.

  • Delayed Sleep Phase Syndrome

It is another circadian rhythm disorder. The internal clock decides when to sleep and wake up. People who are affected by delayed sleep syndrome start sleeping later than usual and wake up after most people. Such individuals typically go to sleep between 1 a.m. and 4 a.m. and wake up as late as noon. The patients of this syndrome rest well but don’t operate within regular hours.

  • Jet Lag Disorder

Although travelling rejuvenates and refreshes your mind, it is not easy on the body. This is especially true for journeys where you must cross multiple time zones. When a person flies across continents and covers a long distance, he can develop a jet lag disorder. It may cause signs like fatigue and tiredness and can sometimes even lead to stomach and other gastronomical issues. The sleep trouble generally gets cured on its own after spending a day or two in the new place. However, in some cases, when the disruption occurs multiple times in a short period, it can result in long-term rest issues.

  • Recurrent Isolated Sleep Paralysis

Most people experience sleep paralysis when they wake up after resting for a long time. But, if the phenomenon occurs several times over a span of a few weeks or months, it can be a cause of concern. Patients suffering from this sleep disorder hear sounds and experience hallucinations. Some people also feel a weight on their chest during the paralysis episode. Experts recommend practising meditation and breathing exercises to cure this sleep problem.

  • Fatal Familial Insomnia

A rare sleep disorder, fatal familial insomnia is a genetic neurological disease. Caused by an infectious protein, the rest problem starts in the brain and impacts your sleep-wake cycle. Those with this sleep disorder experience extreme bouts of insomnia and issues like weight loss, paranoia, and confusion. Typically, the condition affects people who are around 50, but some children are also diagnosed with the disorder.

  • Exploding head syndrome

People with exploding head syndrome report hearing gunshots, explosions, crashing noises, and other sounds when sleeping. While hearing these noises is not painful, the whole episode can be scary and unnerving for the patients. Although researchers are yet to reveal what makes patients hear these loud noises, theories suggest that the brain’s neural transmitters short circuit during sleep. The rest problem causes sleep disruptions, and people are recommended to get counselling to treat the problem.


Sleep disorders disrupt your rest and lead to poor quality sleep. Therefore, people suffering from these rest problems should seek immediate treatment. This makes it vital to learn about rare sleep disorders as it can help you immediately recognise the symptoms and seek proper treatment.

Disclaimer: The facts and information contained in this article are obtained from reputed medical research organisations and do not necessarily reflect the opinions & beliefs of ResMed. The content here should not be taken as medical advice. The content is for informational purposes only, and because each person is unique, please consult a healthcare professional for any medical queries.

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