Know your sleep disorders
Published 10/02/2010 | 05:00
(1) Sleep apnoea: A condition where breathing is obstructed as the throat muscles relax, causing the sufferer's breathing to stop and start suddenly.
Symptoms include snoring and drowsiness during the day.
Daytime drowsiness is itself dangerous -- it's responsible for a large percentage of traffic accidents -- but the condition itself is also linked to an increased risk of stroke and heart problems.
(2) Restless leg syndrome: A relatively common condition where sufferers experience discomfort in the lower limbs at bedtime.
It can be linked to diabetes, Parkinson's and other medical conditions, but in half of cases, there is no obvious other medical disorder.
Stretching exercises and good sleep hygiene are recommended, but in severe cases, medication is required.
(3) Narcolepsy: This is characterised by an irresistible urge to fall asleep during the day, even while driving or cooking dinner. Counselling, exercise and regular sleep patterns can combat unplanned napping.
(4) REM sleep behaviour disorder: When we dream, our brain activity resembles its waking activity.
But during REM (Rapid Eye Movement) sleep, our muscles become so relaxed that we are effectively paralysed.
With this disorder, the mechanism breaks down and the sufferer will act out their dreams. Doctors often treat the disorder with medication.
(5) Sleep walking: Common in children, occasionally this problem persists into adulthood. Doctors recommend a good sleep routine, hypnotherapy and sometimes medication.