Sleep conditions

Am I Just Tired, or Do I Have a Sleep Condition?

The occasional slow morning after a late or restless night is nothing out of the ordinary. But having consistent, low-quality sleeps, or difficulty sleeping, may mean you have a sleep condition. Don’t go into panic mode yet! Sleep problems are common, and there are plenty of professionals ready to help you understand your experiences and provide support. 

Some common sleep conditions are:

Insomnia: Having trouble falling asleep or staying asleep on a regular basis.

Unlike the occasional all-nighter, insomnia is when you struggle to sleep despite having the opportunity. Stress, alcohol, caffeine, medications, health issues, and mental health problems can all cause it. You might feel tired, irritable, anxious, or unable to concentrate. Fortunately, you can improve your sleep with better habits, sleep apps, or professional help like cognitive behavioral therapy or medication.

Obstructive Sleep Apnoea: Repeatedly waking because your breathing stops and starts.

During sleep, relaxed airway muscles cause brief breathing pauses, often waking you without awareness. OSA symptoms include fatigue, dry mouth, morning headaches, concentration issues, snoring, and mood changes. It's common, affecting around 1 in 10 women and 1 in 4 men. Based on the severity of your OSA, a doctor can tell you whether simple lifestyle changes, using a CPAP (continuous positive airway pressure) machine, or having surgery is the best option for you.

Restless Legs Syndrome: An irresistible urge to move a leg or body part at nighttime.

Beyond typical restlessness, RLS causes a compelling urge to move legs or other body parts, disrupting sleep and causing daytime fatigue and irritability. Treatment includes lifestyle changes and medication.

Circadian Rhythm Disorders: When your body clock is unaligned with your environment, e.g., Jetlag, Shift Work Disorder, Delayed or Advanced Sleep Phase Disorders

These disorders revolve around disruptions in our sleep patterns. Inside each of our bodies is a 24-hour ‘internal body clock’ called our circadian rhythm, which controls when we feel like falling asleep or staying up. But, when the body is confused by a changing sleep schedule such as, shift work, staying up late binging Netflix, or pulling assignment all-nighters, your sleep cycle can fall out of sync. These disorders can be temporary, and the treatment you choose depends on the type of disorder you have and how much it’s impacting your life.

If you experience any of the above, you can seek medical assistance here.


Rundo, J. V. (2019). Obstructive sleep apnea basics. Cleveland Clinic Journal of Medicine, 86(9), 2-9.

Buysse, D. J., Rush, J. A., & Reynolds, C. F. (2017). Clinical management of insomnia disorder. JAMA, 318(20), 1973-1974. doi:10.1001/jama.2017.15683

Circadian Rhythm Sleep Disorders, Cleveland Clinic