Common sleep disorders

Unfortunately, most Australians don’t get enough sleep. While lack of sleep can often be due to lifestyle factors, sleep disorders can also be to blame.


Common sleep disorders


It’s estimated that about 20% of Australians are affected by a major sleep disorder that affects their sleep. These include obstructive sleep apnoea (OSA) and insomnia — the two most common sleep disorders in Australia.

As well as the immediate effects of fatigue, sleep disorders can contribute to other health conditions including cardiovascular disease, diabetes, obesity and poor mental health.

Common sleep disorders

Sleep Apnoea

Most of us snore at some stage of our life. However, snoring is also a symptom of a serious condition called sleep apnoea or obstructive sleep apnoea (OSA).

OSA is characterised by repeated episodes of partial or complete obstruction of the throat while you’re asleep. This can cause you to stop breathing for anywhere from 10 seconds to one minute. These episodes can occur throughout the night, sometimes hundreds of times, without you realising.

This condition affects how much oxygen your body gets while sleeping and increases the risk for blood pressure, heart attack and stroke.


This is a sleep disorder where you have trouble falling asleep and/or staying asleep. Insomnia can be acute (lasting only a few nights or weeks), or be chronic (at least three nights a week, for three months or longer). It can also come and go, with periods of time when you have no problems with your sleep. Insomnia can be caused by a number of things including stress, illness, medications, or pain. However, sometimes there are no clear reasons for this condition.


Narcolepsy is a chronic sleep disorder that affects the brain’s ability to control sleep-wake cycles. Characteristics of this condition include overwhelming daytime drowsiness and sudden ‘attacks’ of sleep. People with narcolepsy experience uneven and uninterrupted sleep throughout the night. They may also have difficulty staying awake for long periods of time.

There are two types of narcolepsy.

  • Type 1 — People with this type have low levels of a brain hormone called hypocretin. They may also report sudden loss of voluntary muscle control (called cataplexy), and exhibit excessive daytime sleepiness on a special nap test.
  • Type 2 — This type still causes people to experience excessive daytime sleepiness, but without muscle weakness. Symptoms of this type are usually less severe and people with this condition have normal levels of hypocretin.

Restless Leg Syndrome

Restless leg syndrome (RLS) is also known as Willis-Ekbom disease. It’s a condition that causes an uncontrollable urge to move your legs and typically happens in the evening or nighttime while sitting or lying down.

If you have restless leg syndrome you may experience problems with your sleep. This is because symptoms are often worse at night. You may have trouble falling asleep or staying asleep. This can cause daytime sleepiness, fatigue and sleep deprivation, along with poor mood and a compromised immune system. Lack of sleep can severely impact the quality of your life.

What you can do about a sleep disorder

If you find sleeping is a problem or you’re waking up feeling tired and fatigued, speak to your doctor. Many sleep disorders can be successfully treated if they are diagnosed. Treatment will depend on the kind of sleep disorder you have. However, it’s important to seek help, as sleep deprivation can have some serious effects on your health.

One of the reasons people have trouble sleeping well is that they are sleeping on the wrong mattress, or a mattress that needs replacing. At BedGuard, we are the experts in mattresses and can recommend the right mattress for every member of your family.

Why not pop into our store and meet with our friendly staff, or browse online today.

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