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The Exhausted Woman
with Christine Hammond, MS, LMHC

40 Signs of a Sleep Disorder

Mark thought he had attention deficit disorder (ADD). He couldn’t sit still, struggled to focus, was easily distracted, impulsive, and frequently forgot things. Even a medical doctor believed that he had ADD. However, when he took the appropriate medication, things got worse, not better. Frustrated and confused, he became worried that he had a more severe mental disorder. He thought he was losing his mind.

One of the commonly overlooked areas in mental health is sleep disorders. They might have trouble making a decision, thinking clearly, overreact, be moody, or easily exhausted. A person can appear to have depression, anxiety, ADD/ADHD, thyroid problems, and chronic fatigue syndrome when actually they have a sleep disorder. This was true for Mark who actually had a mild form of narcolepsy and not ADD. When he took the stimulant ADD medication, this made his sleep patterns worse resulting in an increase in his symptoms.

To help sort through the possible sleep disorders, it is best to be evaluated by a sleep expert. Their analysis is far more thorough through the use of a sleep study and other testing. Being able to pinpoint the specific type of disorder saves time, money and frustration. Here is a list of sleep disorder symptoms for someone who might not be aware they might have a sleeping problem.

  1. Complaints that your snoring is extremely loud.
  2. Difficulty waking up in the morning even after several alarms.
  3. Hallucinations, muscle deterioration, and fainting during the day.
  4. Difficulty staying asleep.
  5. After traveling, you have a headache, nausea, tired, and unable to sleep.
  6. Walking in your sleep.
  7. Difficulty staying awake during the day.
  8. Unable to move upon waking for a long period of time.
  9. Difficulty falling asleep.
  10. Need more sleep during wintertime.
  11. Acting out sexually while still sleeping.
  12. Screaming or fighting while sleeping.
  13. Falling asleep during conversations, walking, driving, or working.
  14. Unwanted physical activity during sleep.
  15. Daytime moodiness and difficulty concentrating.
  16. Strong and long dream cycles.
  17. A pattern of sleeping less than 6 hours a night.
  18. A pattern of sleeping more than 9 hours a night.
  19. Talking during sleep.
  20. Hearing loud sounds while sleeping that is not occurring.
  21. Frequent nightmares.
  22. Sleep feels poor and light.
  23. Jerking awake, startled responses.
  24. Lower legs burn, ache, twitch, itch, and tingle while falling asleep.
  25. A pattern of going to bed earlier and waking up earlier.
  26. A pattern of going to bed earlier and waking up later.
  27. Hallucinations while falling asleep.
  28. Hitting or attacking partner during a sleep cycle.
  29. Frequently waking up during the night.
  30. Unsure of location upon waking up.
  31. Snorts, chokes, or gasps during sleep.
  32. Leg cramps during the night.
  33. Difficulty going back to sleep.
  34. Dreaming immediately upon falling asleep.
  35. Wake up with chest pains, dry throat, nasal congestion or short breath.
  36. Needing to consume pills to sleep on a regular basis.
  37. Pauses in breathing while sleeping.
  38. Acting out dreams during the sleep cycle.
  39. Strong desire to move your limbs while sleeping.
  40. Unsatisfactory sleep upon waking.

Checking any one of these items could indicate a sleep disorder and should be followed up with a sleep expert. Sadly, sleep disorders have become the forgotten area of mental health yet it constitutes a third of a person’s day. Don’t overlook your sleep or sleeping habits, it could cause more problems than expected.

40 Signs of a Sleep Disorder

Christine Hammond, MS, LMHC

Christine Hammond is a leading mental health influencer, author, and guest speaker. As an author of the award-winning “The Exhausted Woman’s Handbook,” and more than 500 articles, Christine has more than one million people downloading her podcast “Understanding Today’s Narcissist,” and more than 400,000 views on YouTube. Her practice specializes in treating families of abuse, and trauma, with personality disorders involved which are based on her own personal experience. Her new book, Abuse Exposed: Identifying Family Secrets that Breed Dysfunction will be published in 2020. Christine is a Licensed Mental Health Counselor and Qualified Supervisor by the State of Florida, a National Certified Counselor, Certified Family Trauma Professional, with extensive training in crisis intervention and peaceful resolution. Based in Orlando, you may connect with Christine at Grow with Christine (


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APA Reference
Hammond, C. (2019). 40 Signs of a Sleep Disorder. Psych Central. Retrieved on August 13, 2020, from