London: Researchers have claimed that wearing compression stockings might help people suffering from a common sleep disorder.
They found that sufferers who wore thigh-high stockings for a week cut their sleep problems by a third.
People with obstructive sleep apnoea (OSA) frequently wake in the night, which in turn leads to problems during the day, such as excess sleepiness.
A large proportion of people with sleep apnoea also snore. They often struggle with exhaustion as the disorder makes deep sleep difficult.
In OSA, the muscles in the airway collapse during sleep, which cuts off breathing for at least ten seconds before brain signals cause a contraction of the muscles, which reopens the airway.
Not only does it disrupt sleep – for sufferers and those within earshot – and cause exhaustion, the condition appears to increase blood pressure and associated heart problems.
In the latest study, researchers from the University of Brescia, Italy, used full-length compression stockings – the kind used to prevent deep-vein thrombosis in air passengers – to regulate bloodflow through the legs.
“We found that in patients with chronic venous insufficiency, compression stockings reduced daytime fluid accumulation in the legs, which in turn reduced the amount of fluid flowing into the neck at night, thereby reducing the number of apnoeas by more than a third,” the Daily Mail quoted Dr Stefania Redolfi, who led the research, as saying.
The study has been published in the American Journal of Respiratory and Critical Care Medicine.