High Blood Sugar, Obesity To Heart Problems: What Chronic Sleep Deprivation Can Lead To
Sleep disorders can have a significant impact on a person’s overall health and quality of life. Chronic sleep deprivation can lead to a range of health problems, including obesity, diabetes, heart disease, and depression. Treatment for sleep disorders typically involves lifestyle changes, medication, and/or therapy, say experts.
Dr Satyanarayana Mysore, HOD and Consultant – Pulmonology, Lung Transplant Physician, Manipal Hospital Old Airport Road, said, “Bangalore is almost like a city that never sleeps and is known for professionals, with a large chunk of IT professionals residing there. Given the cosmopolitan, urban, and industrial characteristics of the city, the Bangaloreans, whether they are permanent residents or temporary migrants, all experience upper airway resistance syndromes, sleep apnea, circadian sleep rhythm disorders, and other sleep disorders that are seen without any geographic limitations. The increased light exposure leads to a huge number of sleep issues, including insomnia, sleep onset insomnia, and disruption in normal sleep and wake-up times.”
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“There is an urgent need for increased awareness of these sleep disorders and careful consideration of adopting good sleep habits such as avoiding light-emitting devices (smartphones, laptops, tablet devices, and television) before bedtime, limiting coffee post-afternoon, and adopting good sleep hygiene such as dark rooms and comfortable beds for good sleep with less to no noise or disturbance,” Dr Satyanarayana Mysore stated.
Dr Vivek Anand Padegal, Senior Consultant-Pulmonology, Fortis Hospital, Bannerghatta Road, Bangalore, explained that by far the most common problem today is the lack of sleep followed by habits that decrease the quality of sleep. People do not get enough sleep; the average sleep required for restorative sleep is about eight hours. “Due to various reasons, the lack of sleep makes us wake up tired and not refreshed, leading to various health problems later,” he said.
Habits such as using blue light devices like phones and pads, consuming alcohol or smoking before bedtime, can interfere with sleep onset and decrease the quality of sleep. Shift work and varied sleep timing can lead to sleep disruption, further interfering with sleep quality, he explained.
“The cumulative effect of these behaviours and the added stress of modern lifestyles can lead to difficulty in falling asleep – insomnia. Lack of sleep can lead to several health problems like obesity, hypertension, depression, metabolic syndrome, to name a few. The prescription is simple – get at least 8 hours of sleep, try and avoid using devices before bedtime, avoid coffee, tea, and smoking towards the end of your day, exercise before bedtime, and keep a regular sleep schedule. These simple steps can lead to better sleep health and a better quality of life,” Dr Vivek Anand Padegal explained.
Dr Damodar Bindhani, Clinical Director and HOD, Pulmonology, CARE Hospitals, Bhubaneswar, explains that sleep disorders are a group of conditions that interfere with normal sleep patterns, causing disruptions in a person’s ability to fall asleep, stay asleep or feel rested upon waking. “Unlike obstructive sleep apnea, which is caused by a physical blockage of the airway, central sleep apnea is caused by a failure of the brain to send the proper signals to the muscles that control breathing during sleep. This can result in periods of interrupted breathing and can lead to daytime fatigue and other health problems,” he said.
Dr Damodar Bindhani stated, “Circadian rhythm disorder is a condition that disrupts the normal sleep-wake cycle, which is regulated by the body’s internal clock. The body’s internal clock is a complex system that is influenced by various factors, including light exposure, hormone levels, and temperature. When the body’s internal clock is disrupted, it can cause a range of sleep-related problems, including difficulty falling asleep or staying awake, excessive sleepiness during the day, and changes in appetite and mood.”
He further explained, “Narcolepsy is a chronic sleep disorder that is characterised by excessive daytime sleepiness, sleep attacks, and other symptoms that can significantly impact a person`s daily life. Narcolepsy affects approximately 1 in 2,000 people and is typically diagnosed in adolescence or young adulthood.” Dr Bindhani added, “The primary symptom of narcolepsy is excessive daytime sleepiness, which can cause a person to feel tired and drowsy throughout the day, regardless of how much sleep they get at night. This can make it difficult to concentrate, work, and carry out daily activities.”