Why does city sleep so little

Why does city sleep so little

Bengalureans are becoming prone to sleep disorders. Today is World Sleep Day

Bengalureans are a sleepless lot and it’s not just Covid or Cholera fears that are keeping them up at night. Late nights, pressing deadlines, health issues and gadget addiction together form a vicious circle which cause many people in the city to suffer from sleep deprivation. Though it takes a toll on their physical and mental health (and sometimes even relationships), the affected lot seem to be not doing much to improve the quality of their sleep. 

Sleep disorders a major concern 

Sleep disordered breathing, which forms a big chunk of the sleep disorders that predisposes an individual to excessive day time sleepiness, encompasses a spectrum of diseases such as snoring, obstructive sleep apnea, central sleep apnea and hypoventilation syndromes.

With a prevalence rate of 13.7 per cent, Obstructive Sleep Apnea (OSA) is a condition that is characterised by complete or partial obstruction of the upper airway disrupting normal sleep pattern. An inevitable sign of sleep apnea is snoring.

“While earlier OSA mostly affected the older adults (in age bracket of 50 to 59 years), recent data has shown a rise in the number of younger adults (18 to 29 years) and even children being affected by this condition,” says Dr Shantanu Tandon, ENT, sleep apnea and endoscopic surgeon, Sakra World Hospital.

“At Sakra World Hospital, over the last five–seven years, there has been an increase in the number of patients between 25 to 40 years of age seeking help for insufficient sleep; a quarter of them are snorers,” he adds.

Dr Shantanu reveals that a latest study also pointed out that 80 per cent of snoring patients were brought or sent by their wives for a consultation, making it clear that this condition affects the partner’s sleep as well.

He added that snoring could hint at several underlying clinical conditions and can be tied with factors like obesity, hypertension, large neck size and allergies too. 

Gadget addiction

Prevalent among teens and techies, this manifests in the need to check your phone every minute or so. As you scroll down your social media need, liking and commenting on memes about wanting to sleep more, the minutes turn into hours, cutting into your precious sleeping time.  The blue light emitted by mobile phone and laptop screens suppresses levels of the sleep-inducing hormone melatonin. Apart from sleep deprivation, it also leads to eye problems, fatigue and ‘disconnection anxiety’ — the feeling that you are missing out on some social development when you are not checking your phone. 

Work timings, changing shifts wreak havoc

For all the techies constantly pulling all-nighters to deliver important projects and meet deadlines, their constant companions are caffeine and disrupted sleeping patterns. 

“My shift changes every 2-3 weeks and it is difficult to manage my sleep pattern. Timings change as per which country is awake and the constant change in timings means I have no set sleeping patterns; I just hope I sleep at a decent time and get enough of it to handle the next day. It is difficult but since I don’t have big responsibilities, I work around it,” says an MNC professional in the city who does not want to be named.

“Rotating shifts mean your circadian rhythm changes, which disrupts your sleep stages. There are hormones 
which are secreted when you sleep and if you don’t have that particular sleep stage, a lot of hormones get affected. This will affect your performance and so on,” explains Dr Syed Tousheed, consultant, pulmonologist, Narayana Health City.

Usually sleepers pass through four stages. A complete sleep cycle takes an average of 90 to 110 minutes, with each stage lasting between 5 to 15 minutes.

Caffeine too can have a disruptive effect on your sleep. The stimulant makes it hard for you to fall asleep and can also delay the timing of your body clock, reducing your total sleep time.

How many hours of sleep do you need?

Both the quantity and quality of the sleep is important, points out Dr Syed Tousheed. “The quantity of sleep has come down significantly because of busy life schedules. There is something called sleep hygiene and according to that, you’re supposed to sleep for eight hours; which means one third of your life should be spent sleeping. But studies and data show that people are only sleeping for 6–6.5 hours, especially in cities. Stress and workload is contributing to cutting down on the sleep quantity,” he says.

“Sleeping less than 6 hours a day increases the risk up by 12 percent to a shorter lifespan. Based on some wearable appliances, a study released suggests that Indians are the second most sleep derived in the world, behind Japan,” says Dr Srivatsa Lokeshwaran.

Lack of sleep can lead to hypertension, heart ailments, say experts

There is a large amount of evidence that poor sleep is one of the key risk factors for lifestyle diseases like hypertension, diabetes mellitus and heart ailments, points out Dr Srivatsa Lokeshwaran, consultant - interventional pulmonology, Aster CMI Hospital.

“Also, the excessive daytime sleepiness that arises as a consequence is shown to cause havoc in the form of frequent road traffic accidents and poor productivity. Recognising the problem, getting screening done and adopting preventive measures, along with lifestyle changes, are key to alleviate such sleep related disorders and ailments,” he adds.

Here are some tips to help you get a good sleep

We know you have read these many times but hey, we are just trying to get the message across.

Reduce blue light exposure in the night

Keep your gadgets away

Don’t consumer caffeine late in the evening

Stick to a regular sleep schedule

Create a restful environment

Limit daytime naps

Increase physical activity during the day

Select a pillow that is right for your neck

Your bed should only be for sleeping, not eating or working

Eat right at night

Too much noise? Use a fan, AC or a white noise app or machine. You can also try ear plugs.


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