Sleep Texting and sleep disorders
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Increasing numbers of people are asking for help with
sleep disorders and some of them are doing rather
strange things during the night.
Specialist sleep clinics are treating more people with
sleep disorders than ever before.
It's not surprising. More than 30%
of the UK population currently suffers from insomnia or
another sleep disorder, according to the Mental Health
Foundation. This can have serious mental and physical
Clinics say they are getting up to 50 new referrals a
week. It's a fivefold increase in just a decade for
some. This big rise has been put down to raised
awareness of sleep disorders and more people reporting
The clinics are also dealing with some strange new sleep
behaviour, while other rather odd sleep disorders are
becoming more common. So what are the weird things
Technology now plays a huge part in our lives so it's no
shock that sleep experts are seeing new kinds of sleep
behavior related to it.
Continue reading the main story What happens if you don't sleep?
Poor sleep can damage mood, concentration,
energy and even relationships
Try avoiding key
things that make it hard to sleep such
as too warm a bedroom
Creating a personal
sleep profile can
help you manage your body clock effectively
More people are reporting sending text messages during
their sleep, says Dr Kirstie Anderson, who runs the
Neurology Sleep Service for the Newcastle Upon Tyne NHS
Foundation Trust. Considering the number of Britons who
now own a mobile phone
- it's not
surprising. Many people also take them to bed.
"It is very common for people to do things in their
sleep that they do repeatedly during the day," says
This is largely down to sleep disorders called
parasomnias. These are unwanted behaviours that occur
They can be as small as opening your eyes while asleep
or, at the very extreme end, driving a car while
sleeping. Anderson has even treated someone who
carefully dismantled grandfather clocks while asleep.
What happens in our brains during such episodes is still
something of a mystery. Not much research has been done,
largely due to the fact that gathering data is very
"The problem is people rarely do such acts under
controlled conditions at a sleep clinic," says sleep
specialist Dr Chris Idzikowski, director of the
Edinburgh Sleep Clinic. "But this area of research is
going to really move forward in the next few years
because we now have the necessary equipment to record
people in their own homes."
Reassuringly, the texts people send when asleep often
make no sense. While it is common for people to do
things in their sleep that they do during the day, they
do them more clumsily or inaccurately, says Anderson.
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