I feel 'I have problems sleeping' looks wrong and it should be 'I have sleeping problems'. But I saw the structure many times in news. What is the difference between them?

  • Two differences: 1) grammar 2) emphasis. Semantically and connotatively they might end up having the same external responses. – Mitch Nov 17 '16 at 14:36

Having sleeping problems is long-term, having problems sleeping is short-term.

Here is how I would use each of these terms, with an example.

Sleeping problems : "I have had sleeping problems since I am 7, because every little noise wakes me up."

Problems sleeping : "I have had problems sleeping this week, because there was a lot of noise in the street during the nights."

  • I like the way you split it up into short term and long term. However, at our house, for long term, we say "sleep difficulties," "sleep problems," or "sleep issues." Or "insomnia." And for short-term: "He had trouble sleeping," "trouble falling asleep," "trouble getting back to sleep," "trouble staying asleep." One more approach: "I slept badly." – aparente001 Nov 15 '16 at 8:45

I think the two constructions are correct depending on the intended meaning. "I have problems sleeping"appears to be addressing disruptive events preceding sleep (not even being able to sleep off) while "I have sleeping problems"appears to be talking to disruptive events that take place while sleeping such as nightmares. This is my take. Thank you.

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