If you typically have trouble falling or staying asleep, you might often ask yourself: Could I have a sleep disorder? It’s estimated that up to 70 million—or one in five—Americans suffer from a chronic sleep disorder, and there are 90 different types. (Crazy, right?). So, it’s certainly a possibility.
But just because you’re having trouble snoozing doesn’t mean there’s definitely something seriously wrong. Not everybody has the capability to fall asleep quickly, sleep through the night, or log eight hours of sleep—especially as they age, says Michael Perlis, PhD, director of the Behavioral Sleep Medicine Program at the University of Pennsylvania.
To find out if your symptoms might be cause for concern, keep reading. If anything below is consistently an issue, it’s worth bringing it up to your doctor.
If it takes you 30 minutes or longer to fall asleep most nights, that could be a sign of insomnia or another sleep disorder, according to the U.S. Library of Medicine.
It’s important to understand that most people experience problems sleeping from time to time. But if you have trouble falling asleep three nights or more each week, and that continues for more than a month, you may have what doctors call “chronic insomnia,” per a report from the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute (NHLBI).
If you have “vivid” dream-like visions or experiences just before falling asleep or as you’re waking up, these could be symptoms of narcolepsy, per the NHLBI.
Feeling suddenly weak or sleepy when you laugh or experience strong emotion is another sign, according to the U.S. National Library of Medicine.
Frequent and loud snoring can be a sign of sleep apnea, which stems from problems breathing during sleep, according to the NHLBI. If your partner says your snoring features gasping or snorting, or includes stretches when you don’t seem to be breathing, these are all signs of sleep apnea.
“Everybody wakes up one to five times a night—everybody. But for most healthy people, these awakenings are so brief that they may not remember them well or at all,” Dr. Perlis says. But lying awake at night for 15 or 30 minutes—or longer—can be a sign of insomnia or a related sleep disorder.
Meanwhile, shorter and more frequent awakenings, like if you’re waking up 10 or more times a night, could also be something “medically related,” he adds. Sleep apnea, for example, could cause these sorts of frequent awakenings, he says.
If you often feel very sleepy during the day, especially in the morning hours, that could be a sign that you’re suffering from a sleep disorder, according to the Cleveland Clinic.
Taking frequent naps and falling asleep at odd times during the day are also signs of a sleep disorder, per the U.S. Library of Medicine.
Creeping, tingling, or crawling sensations in your legs—especially in the evening or at night in bed—are all indicative of restless leg syndrome (RLS), according to the NHLBI. If these sensations go away when you move or massage your legs, they could be caused by RLS, which might be messing with your sleep.