Lack of sleep can lead to heart problems over time
Making changes to one’s lifestyle to prevent diseases amounts to harm reduction
Getting enough sleep can help protect against cardiovascular disease by preventing the build-up of plaques in the arteries, as per a study. The research describes the mechanism by which insufficient sleep increases production of inflammatory white blood cells, which are known to be major contributors to atherosclerosis. It also found that a hormone in the brain known to control wakefulness controls processes in the bone marrow and protects against cardiovascular disease.
One of every five patients in India suffers from sleeping disorder, as per a study and about 20.3% patients visiting doctors for such issues ask for sleeping pills. Many patients suffer from sleep disturbances, the reasons for which include hectic schedule, night shifts, and high stress levels. Obstructive sleep apnea (OSA) seems to be one of the most common sleep disorders.
Speaking about this, Padma Shri Awardee, Dr KK Aggarwal, President, HCFI, said, “Majority of the Indian population remains unaware of the fact that common ailments such as obesity, depression, hypertension, diabetes, heart disease are all linked to an irregular sleep pattern. Sleep deprivation also is a key influencer of stressed relationships, decreased performance at school and work, accidental injuries, memory and cognitive impairment and a poor quality of life. It is thus essential that awareness be raised about good sleep habits and the importance of getting adequate sleep on a daily basis. The present generation is mostly found sleeping only for 3-5 hours in a day and then compensating their sleep requirements by sleeping for 14 hours on the weekends. This is extremely dangerous for their overall health. They also depend on caffeine and energy drinks to stay awake, which impact their overall cognitive ability.”
Signs and symptoms of obstructive sleep apnea include excessive daytime sleepiness, loud snoring, observed episodes of breathing cessation during sleep, waking up abruptly, waking up with dry or sore throat, morning headache, difficulty concentrating, mood changes, high blood pressure, nighttime sweating, and decreased libido.
Adding further, Dr Aggarwal, who is also the Group Editor-in-Chief of IJCP, said, “The time has come for each one of us to be cautious about the impact our day to day actions have on our health and take necessary preventive measures. Sleeping well and on time is a harm reduction methodology as it can help avoid many diseases and health complications over time.”
Some tips from HCFI
- Try to go to bed and get up at the same time every day — at the very least, on weekdays. If need be, use weekends to make up for lost sleep.
- Create a sleep sanctuary. Reserve your bedroom for sleep and intimacy.
- Banish the television, computer, smartphone or tablet, and other diversions you’re your bedroom
- Taking a nap at the peak of sleepiness in the afternoon can help to supplement hours missed at night. But naps can also interfere with your ability to sleep at night and throw your sleep schedule into disarray.
- If you need to nap, limit it to 20 to 30 minutes.
- Avoid caffeine after noon and go light on alcohol. Caffeine can stay in your body for up to 12 hours. Alcohol can act as a sedative, but it also disturbs sleep.
- Get regular exercise, but not within three hours of bedtime. Exercise acts as a short-term stimulant.