AUTOIMMUNE DISEASES , God Guides
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 consequences.
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 them.
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 people do?
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 avoidingkey things that make it hard to sleepsuch as too warm a bedroom
- Creating apersonal sleep profilecan 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 Anderson.
This is largely down to sleep disorders called parasomnias. These are unwanted behaviours that occur during sleep.
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 difficult.
"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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