The body of human is so designed that it spends one-third of its existence ‘recharging’ itself. Therefore, for a healthy human being, the ideal sleep time is said to be eight hours, one-third of the day. However, several factors including stress, lifestyle choices and sleep disorders have reduced the number of hours people sleep.
Lack of sleep is not only associated with several short-terms problems including lack of attention, irritability and constant mood swings, but also more severe health conditions, even cancer. It is due to this reason that the theme for this year’s World Sleep Day which falls on Friday is ‘When sleep is sound, health and happiness abound.’
Calling sleep a basic human right, as important as food and water, renowned sleep physician from the city Dr Sushant Meshram said, “The three most important components of sleep are duration, continuity and depth, all of which together determine the quality of one’s sleep. Good quality sleep indicates that a person may not need to visit a doctor.”
“Though it may seem like one isn’t doing anything while sleeping, it is at this time that a lot of important life functions are carried out. The brain ‘recharges’ itself, memory is consolidated, hormonal balance is maintained and immunity is strengthened during different stages of sleep,” said Dr Meshram.
Recent studies have shown Indians to be the most sleep-deprived people in the world, some putting the number to 9-10% of the population. “The obesity epidemic in India will lead to proportional increase in incidence of common sleep disorders like Obstructive Sleep Apnea Syndrome (OSA) over the next few years, making it an important public health issue. Hypothyroidism, a secondary cause of obesity, is also found to be linked with OSA,” said Dr Randeep Guleria, professor and head of pulmonary medicine and sleep disorders department of All India Institute of Medical Sciences (AIIMS), New Delhi.
“What makes the situation scary is the fact that OSA remains largely undiagnosed, hence undertreated. There is an urgent need to increase awareness on the issue. Few hospitals have sleep laboratories to detect sleep disorders, therefore home sleep test can be done in their absence,” said Dr Guleria