What is Dysomnia? – Types, Causes, Symptoms And Treatments

Dyssomnia encompasses a variety of disorders of specific sleep, inability to sleep, insomnia, wakefulness, falling asleep all night, or waking up too early. All types of insomnia can cause daytime sleepiness, poor concentration, and the inability to feel fresh and rested in the morning.

Patients with dyssomnia have difficulty initiating or maintaining sleep. The DSM-IV defines it as a primary quantity, quality, or rest time disorder. It is believed that these disorders are the consequence of abnormalities of the central nervous system that alter the sleep process.

What is dyssomnia?

It is a sleep disorder associated with a situation where the affected individual has difficulty falling asleep or staying asleep. It disrupts the body’s natural rest and wakefulness patterns and can be caused by multiple reasons. These can be extrinsic reasons, such as excessive noise while sleeping or other physical disturbances, or intrinsic motivations, such as a disrupted circadian rhythm. Other factors that affect the quality and quantity of sleep include caffeine intake, daytime sleep, early bedtime, physical discomfort, etc.

Types of dyssomnia


They are caused by physiological or pathological factors within the body. Among which are:

Psychophysiological insomnia or conditional insomnia

This condition demonstrates inherent arousal related to attempts to sleep. Patients with psychophysiological insomnia incongruously induce wakefulness through elements generally associated with sleep, such as the bed or the bedroom. This occurs along with other causes and periods of stress and anxiety conditions, syndrome of the delayed sleep phase, and withdrawal from the use of hypnotic drugs.

Misperception of sleep state

This disorder is identified when there is a complaint of difficulty initiating or maintaining sleep without establishing an absolute indication.

Idiopathic insomnia

As the name suggests, it has an unknown cause; assumed causes include a neurochemical imbalance within the reticular brainstem formation and impaired control of brainstem sleep generators arising from basal forebrain dysfunction. This pattern commonly begins at birth and persists throughout life.


This chronic condition is characterized primarily by excessive daytime sleep and irregular rapid eye movement (REM) sleep daily for three months. Narcoleptic patients suffer from extreme daytime sleepiness and sudden sleep attacks that occur two to six times a day and last for 10 to 20 minutes. Narcolepsy occurs unexpectedly while you go about your daily activities.


This neurological condition refers to a group of related disorders that manifests drowsiness. Most hypersomnia conditions are challenging to classify and idiopathic.

Sleep apnea

The cessation of airflow in the nose or mouth during sleep is known as sleep apnea. An apneic period generally lasts 10 seconds or more, and the condition is considered pathological if at least five episodes occur in an hour or 30 episodes during the night.

Restless Leg Syndrome

People feel deep tingling sensations inside the calves when sitting or lying down. These sensations are known as dysesthesias. They are rarely painful but are excruciatingly persistent and cause a virtually tempting urge to move the legs; consequently, this syndrome prevents sleeping and falling asleep.


Do environmental factors cause those

Inadequate sleep hygiene

Sleep hygiene refers to nonspecific measures to induce sleep. In this syndrome, habits cannot provide the body with good sleep.

Environmental sleep disorder

It is a change in the environment that causes stress on the body and causes the inability to sleep or fall asleep.

Insufficient sleep syndrome

An intense complaint of daytime sleepiness and symptoms associated with wakefulness by a person who cannot fully sleep to support alert wakefulness is known as insufficient sleep syndrome. The person is usually sleep-deprived of their own free will due to various reasons, such as work or study.

Circadian sleep rhythm disorders

This is mainly due to a change in a person’s biological rhythm or internal clock known as the circadian rhythm. Plants, animals, and humans have a natural rhythm or bio-rhythm. This mainly controls body temperature, alertness or wakefulness, appetite, hormone secretion, and sleep time.

Due to the circadian clock, sleepiness does not increase incessantly as time passes. A person’s desire and ability to fall asleep are influenced by the time elapsed since the person woke up from adequate sleep (homeostasis) and by the rhythms of internal circadian. Therefore, the body is ready to sleep and be awake at different times of the day.

Symptoms of insomnia

The symptoms will depend on the underlying cause of each particular form. However, they can include:

  • Trouble waking up in the morning
  • Sudden and uncontrolled urge to sleep.
  • Drowsiness.
  • Frequent nap.
  • Fatigue.
  • Feeling irritable
  • Increased appetite
  • Weight gain.
  • Lack of energy and feeling tired.

What Causes Insomnia?

Those affected by intrinsic forms of dyssomnia often do not have any underlying psychiatric illness. Instead, their particular sleep problems result in decreased functioning during waking moments. This concern about not getting enough sleep induces tension and stress and leads to more sleep prevention.

Extrinsic factors or external stressors that prevent sleep may come first, leading to several nights of inadequate sleep, inducing the fear that other sleepless nights will follow.

The particular causes of dyssomnia may be associated with:

  • You don’t get enough exposure to bright light during waking hours.
  • Wake- sleep pattern disturbances.
  • Aging.
  • Overactive thyroid
  • Alcoholism or abrupt stop drinking after long-term use.
  • The side effect of a new medication.
  • Excessive physical or intellectual stimulation at bedtime.
  • Jet lag.
  • She was abruptly stopping a drug.
  • Nicotine, alcohol, caffeine, food, or stimulants before bed.
  • Excessive sleep during the day
  • Worry, anxiety, or stress.
  • Depression.
  • Shift work.
  • Pain.
  • Euphoria or emotion.
  • There is interference with sleep from various diseases, including enlarged prostate (men), cystitis (women), arthritis pain, heartburn, and heart or lung problems.

Diagnosis for dyssomnia

Diagnosis for dysomnia

Differential diagnosis between types of dyssomnia usually begins with a consultation about the individual’s sleep history, including onset, frequency, and duration. Certain lifestyle habits, such as the consumption of alcohol or caffeine or the use of illicit and prescription drugs, can also impact. Any particular complaints regarding your sleep patterns should also be discussed.

After this, tests should be performed to determine the individual’s physical susceptibilities and mental state. Some mental illnesses, such as insomnia or hypersomnia, can cause some types of dyssomnia. Similarly, disorders of the nervous, cardiovascular, respiratory, rheumatoid, or endocrine systems can also lead to a sleep disorder. Laboratory tests may also be required to investigate the involvement of specific health conditions, such as hyperthyroidism or pheochromocytoma, that cause the symptoms of difficulty sleeping.

Treatment for dyssomnia

Medical disorders, psychiatric disorders, and stress can precipitate or intensify parasomnias. A careful history of psychosocial stress, alcohol or drug use, and symptoms of depression should be obtained. In addition, a detailed mental status examination should be carried out, patients who have an underlying psychological or psychiatric disorder should be cared for by a psychologist or psychiatrist, and appropriate therapy should be offered.

Pharmacological treatment should only be chosen as the last alternative. You should practice good sleep hygiene, avoid alcohol consumption at night and avoid caffeine before bed. Counseling can be helpful for psychological disorders that lead to insomnia and the practice of relaxation methods.


Medications are not necessary in many cases. If all else has failed, your healthcare provider can research the possibility of using prescription drugs with you.

Benzodiazepines such as Valium (diazepam) or Ativan (lorazepam) are anti-anxiety medications that can help induce sleep. Some antidepressants like Elavil (amitriptyline) can be used at bedtime because they are sedating and require a prescription.

Proper treatment of depression with other appropriate medications or therapy should solve the problem. If insomnia is caused by depression, it should be used with caution because it can be addictive and require a prescription.

Newer drugs called hypnotics are now available as they help reduce the time it takes to fall asleep, but they are much less likely to be addictive than benzodiazepines. Ambien (zolpidem) and Sonata (zaleplon) are two examples.

How is dyssomnia prevented?

The prevention of more mild cases of dyssomnia will involve practicing good sleep habits, and it is recommended to avoid bright screens at least 30 minutes before bedtime. This includes televisions, computers, and your cell phone, which is because nowadays, the Modern screens emit “blue light,” which can trick the brain into thinking that your eyes see sunlight when it can be as dark as night. Indeed, your natural circadian rhythm and melatonin levels can become unbalanced, causing problems falling asleep.

Additional tips for having good sleep habits include taking a bath at night, having a good cup of caffeine-free tea, or even having a light snack rich in protein to avoid hunger during the night.

Expert recommendations include:

  • Don’t go to bed unless you are tired.
  • Have a comfortable, dark, and quiet sleeping environment.
  • Use the bed only for sex and sleep.
  • Wake up at the same time every morning.
  • Avoid alcohol, caffeine, and other drugs, especially after dinner.
  • Avoid excessive naps during the day. A person should take only one nap a day if any, and it should last less than 1 hour.

Treatment of any primary psychiatric condition can prevent some sleep problems from occurring, and avoiding obesity can prevent some cases of sleep apnea. Some sleep disorders cannot be stopped.

Facts and Tips About Dysomnia

Insomnia is usually used to explain any sleep situation where the person has trouble sleeping or falling asleep.

  • It leads to conditions like inability to sleep, insomnia, wakefulness, and falling asleep.
  • In the case of disomy, the situation usually occurs for short periods, but if it continues for more extended periods, it can cause problems due to insufficient sleep.
  • To get rid of the symptoms of dyssomnia, you should avoid staying in bed for long periods while awake or going to bed out of boredom.
  • Try to maintain good sleep hygiene: avoid alcohol at night, avoid caffeine before bed, and relax by reading, taking a bath, or listening to soothing music before bed.
  • Specific treatments are recommended for some of the disorders, such as ingestion of the hormone melatonin, bright light therapy for circadian rhythm disorders, and sleep medications trained to diagnose and treat these disorders.

Website | + posts

Hello, how are you? My name is Georgia Tarrant, and I am a clinical psychologist. In everyday life, professional obligations seem to predominate over our personal life. It's as if work takes up more and more of the time we'd love to devote to our love life, our family, or even a moment of leisure.