‘Take control of your sleep, before it takes control of you’

March 23rd, 2009 - 9:44 am ICT by IANS  

By Shweta Srinivasan
New Delhi, March 23 (IANS) If you didn’t sleep well last night or feel exhausted all day long, you are probably one of thousands suffering from sleeping disorders. It’s possible that hypertension, acidity and several other lifestyle diseases are playing havoc with your sleep.

Good sleep helps you to be alert, awake and keeps you energetic throughout the day and hence a good night’s sleep is vital for good health, experts say.

“As sleep is vital to our health and well-being, we must not cut ourselves short from the amount of sleep that we get or suffer from sleep problems. Take control of your sleep problems before it takes control of you,” advised Ramnathan Iyer, a doctor who treats patients with sleep disorders.

Insomnia refers to the difficulty in initiation, maintenance, duration or quality of sleep. People may experience poor concentration, lower productivity and poorer work quality as a result of insomnia.

Sleep disorders can also make a person fatigued, irritable or forgetful and can lead to strained relationships.

Mumbai-based psychiatrist Manoj Bhatawadekar told IANS: “To prevent or relieve sleep problems and safeguard sleep, making it more restful and pleasurable, it helps to practise good sleep hygiene.”

A good ’sleep hygiene’ would entail regular sleep or wake schedule, avoiding naps especially in the evenings, increase exercise, avoid intake of caffeine and alcohol just before sleeping, and schedule reasonable daytime work hours, Bhatawadekar said.

Many experts across the country from the Indian Sleep Disorders Association (ISDA) in association with Abbott India Limited, a health care company, have declared March 3 to April 7 as Sleep Awareness Month to generate awareness about the importance of sleep hygiene.

J.C. Suri, a doctor and president ISDA, said: “Sleep is important for mental, physical and emotional well-being.”

Iyer, who is ISDA’s west regional governor, stressed: “Early assessment and action can prevent short-term sleep problems from developing into a chronic one.”

Hypertension, arthritis, diabetes, acidity and some medications, including some heart medications, may even cause loss of sleep and stress.

When insomnia occurs in the context of chronic illness, it tends to be more severe than other forms of insomnia and usually involves sleep maintenance difficulties. A recent survey revealed that many lifestyle diseases also surfaced as a result of sleep disorders.

Almost two-thirds of those surveyed reported the presence of at least one medical condition. These included 29 percent suffering from hypertension, 28 percent from arthritis, 19 percent coping with heartburn or gastroesophageal reflux disease, 18 percent battling depression, 11 percent dealing with diabetes, 10 percent with heart disease and 5 percent struggling with a lung disease. Obesity also was associated with a greater number of sleep-related problems.

People who reported a medical diagnosis were more likely than people without a diagnosis to sleep less than six hours per night on weekdays and experience symptoms of insomnia, the survey found.

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