Being left-handed has huge consequences when it comes to sleep management. According to the American College of Chest Physicians left-handed people are more likely to develop something called limb movement disorder (PLMD) where there is an involuntary repetitive limb movement during sleep.
This movement typically affect the legs but can also affect the arms and can lead to sleep disturbances, frequent awakenings in the night and can result in daytime fatigue.
Research in a 2022 study by Brain Structure and Function says that 10.6% of the population is left-handed.
Left-handed and dream patterns
In a 2010 article published in the International Review of Neurobiology, research shows that right-handed people tend to have more Rapid Eye Movement (REM) sleep than left-handed people which contributes to better quality of sleep. This means that your dominant hand actually governs your sleep cycle as well.
REM sleep is integral for memory consolidation and vivid dreaming. This can affect consolidation of memories during sleep, leading to a greater need for REM sleep to help with memory processing.
Sleep difficulties in general
Another study published in the Nature and Science of Sleep journals in 2022 analyzed data from more than 1,700 participants found that left-handed individuals are more likely to experience nighttime awakenings and daytime sleepiness then their right-handed counterparts.
By looking at this link healthcare professionals can look into targeted interventions to improve sleep quality for individuals experiencing these issues.
Mental health issues
One Yale study states that 11% of those suffering from mental illness were also left-handed which is a high number considering lefties only make up 10% of the population. These include common mental health problems such as depression, bipolar disorder and schizophrenia.
What to do
If you have any of these issues, some simple tips include avoiding caffeine for at least four to six hours before bed. Also do not look at electronic screens for too long in the evening. In addition try to get into the habit of going to sleep at the same time everyday.
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