‘Restless’ legs and headaches in the day could signal sleep apnoea

This Morning: Dr Sara on sleep apnoea affecting women

Around a third of all Britons experience sleeping difficulties at some point in their lives. This can range from one-off to lifelong insomnia. However, there are some issues that can occur as you sleep that can be more dangerous.

Sleep apnoea is a disorder that affects millions of people in the UK.

It causes problems with breathing while you sleep, resulting in your breathing stopping and starting throughout the night.

People with the condition could also repeatedly wake up throughout the night, snore and make gasping, choking and snorting noises.

But there are other signs of the disorder that can appear in the day, according to Doctor Sara Kayat.

The TV personality and NHS GP spoke about the condition on ITV’s This Morning.

She said: “Sleep apnoea can affect men and women but it affects about 10 million people in the UK although only about 15 percent of people are actually diagnosed with it.

“There are lots of people out there who have no idea that they’ve got it and are therefore not getting treated.

“Sleep apnoea causes you to stop and start breathing throughout the night and therefore you get woken up several times through the night.

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“You may not notice you’re being woken up but the next day you can feel really fatigued.”

Dr Sara warned specifically that women are more likely to experience restless legs and headaches as a result of sleep apnoea.

She continued: “But interestingly in women they sometimes get very different types of symptoms where they can just get restless legs or they can feel that they’re getting headaches or just more fatigued and so it might just be that they’re getting misdiagnosed more than their male counterparts.”


Depending on how severe your sleep apnoea is there are different forms of treatment available.

“Sleep apnoea if it’s severe can be treated with something called a CPAP machine, it’s this machine you wear at night time to blow air into your mouth,” Dr Sara said.

“But if it’s not as severe there are things that you can be doing at home to try and help yourself.” These include losing weight and wearing a mouthguard at night.

She added: “So weight loss is number one. If you are overweight that can help.

“Number two is wearing a mouth guard that helps bring forward your jaw a little bit, you can get them from your dentist and that helps prevent the tongue from falling back and obstructing the back of the throat.

“There are even these little devices that you can wear around your neck which buzz when you are lying on your back and they prompt you to lie on your side to ensure your tongue doesn’t fall to the back of your throat.”

Her advice comes as Express.co.uk reported how a new study, published in Frontiers in Sleep, found that men with obstructive sleep apnoea are more at risk for developing dementia.

Other research has linked sleep apnoea to increased risk of heart disease, diabetes, stroke, high blood pressure and high cholesterol.

If you think you or someone you know has sleep apnoea you should arrange to see a GP.

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