Six Neurological Conditions That Can Cause Sleep Disorders

Patients suffering from a sleep disorder may wonder if their disorder has a neurological cause. There are many neurological conditions that can negatively impact a patient's ability to maintain healthy sleep habits.

The following are six neurological conditions that can cause sleep disorders. 

Circadian rhythm disorders

Circadian rhythm disorders are a group of disorders that are caused by irregularities with a patient's "internal body clock." Symptoms of circadian rhythm disorders include problems falling asleep, problems staying asleep throughout the night, poor concentration, and frequent headaches.

One of the most common treatments for circadian rhythm disorders is melatonin. In some patients, taking melatonin can successfully regulate a patient's circadian rhythm and allow a patient to reestablish a healthy sleep pattern.  


Patients suffering from Alzheimer's disease often experience insomnia issues. Such patients may wake up during the night and be unable to fall back asleep. Insomnia is an especially troublesome problem for Alzheimer's patients because it can speed up the cognitive decline that Alzheimer's causes.

Unfortunately, sleep aids are not usually effective on Alzheimer's patients. This means that other treatment options are usually recommended for Alzheimer's patients including changing lifestyle habits that aggravate sleep disorders such as being sedentary throughout the day or consuming caffeine.

Parkinson's disease

Getting adequate sleep is even more important for Parkinson's patients than it is for healthy patients. That's because the body needs adequate rest to repair itself when Parkinson's is causing neuromuscular degeneration in the brain and body.

Unfortunately, medications that are often prescribed to Parkinson's patients have a tendency to disrupt sleep. Parkinson's patients therefore frequently take sleep medications or undergo sleep therapy to help them get adequate rest at night.

REM sleep behavior disorder

Patients who suffer from rapid eye movement (REM) sleep behavior disorder have trouble sleeping peacefully at night due to an inability to achieve normal muscle relaxation. Such patients may move around violently or vocalize loudly while sleeping. This can detract significantly from sleep quality.

Patients with REM sleep behavior disorder may be treated through the administration of sleep aids. They may also need to place padding around their bed to prevent injury when they move around while sleeping.


Patients who have recently experienced a stroke may have insomnia issues afterward. Many stroke survivors experience sleep-disordered breathing issues that interfere with rest at night. Patients with sleep-disordered breathing problems caused by stroke are often treated with CPAP therapy. 

Central nervous system hypersomnia

Central nervous system hypersomnia is a neurological condition that causes patients to sleep excessively. Affected patients suffer from extreme fatigue and frequently have difficulty staying awake during the day.

Patients suffering from conditions such as central nervous system hypersomnia can often be successfully treated through the administration of nervous system stimulants. 

Contact a sleep center in your area for more information.