Breathing-related Sleep Disorder

Man Breathing Disorder


Breathing related sleep disorder is a condition in which the patient experiences disturbances in his sleep cycle because of breathing related issues. Patients of these disorders often complain of excessive daytime sleepiness, nocturnal sleep interruption and fatigue.

It is a documented mental disorder as per the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders. There are a number of specific sleep disorders like insomnia, dyssomnia and hypersomnia and breathing related sleep disorders may span one or more of these specific sleep related disorders. Patients tend to drift into sleep while reading or watching movies. Patients may also feel that they are not fully refreshed after waking up.

Signs and Symptoms

  • Sleep apnea: The patients may experience one or more symptoms of Obstructive Sleep Apnea including partial blockage of the upper-airway. Its symptoms are more common in children suffering from breathing disorders as compared to adults.
  • Snoring: this is the most common and irritating symptom. Patients and their family often complain of snoring and “wish” they could get rid of it. While there may be many reasons for snoring, the most common reason is the partial suspension of blood-oxygenation in the lungs
  • Fatigue: due to a interrupted or inadequate sleep, patients often experience prolonged periods of fatigue.
  • Swollen eyes/dark circles: Due to an interrupted nocturnal sleep cycle, patients may experience dry eyes (leading to swelling) coupled with dark circles.

Causes and Risk Factors

Breathing related sleep disorder is a classified mental condition. In most cases, such disturbed situations are caused because of a number of social, environmental, genetic and psychological factors playing together.

Patients who are faced with a traumatic or life threatening situation may develop these disorders. Mental trauma and a stressful life can wreck havoc on a person’s biological cycle. Obesity can also cause breathing abnormalities, leading to obstructed sleep.

Medical conditions arising out of low arterial oxygen levels can also contribute to breathing issues. Genetics also play an important role in determining whether someone acquires this disorder or not. Genetic mutations can greatly alter the way human brain works, thereby inhibiting the neurotransmitters responsible for controlling breathing during sleep. This can lead to various breathing disorders also. Patients of this disorder are exposed to a number of risks including:

  • Fatigue, resulting in inefficiency at work place
  • Accidents
  • Depression and distress
  • Inability to focus on work
  • Facing constant failures and dozing off to sleep during important meetings and social gatherings
  • Inability to carry out important tasks


Most of these disorders are a result of obesity and weight reduction is one of the best ways of getting rid of such disorders. A regular workout regimen can also set your body’s biological clock in the right cycle. Low-calorie diets can help you sail over snoring and chest pain during sleep.

Nasal CPAP therapy is another great way of treating sleep apnea and breathing disorders. Snoring can be cured by administering nasal CPAP on the patients. Nasal CPAP usually lasts for a year, after which the patient is released.

Surgery can also be administered on patients who cannot be cured using regular medication. Targeted psychotherapy is another way of treating the patients by helping them get over the negative thoughts and underlying trauma leading to these disorders.


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