World Sleep Day: India is facing a sleep health crisis, say experts

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New Delhi, March 15 (IANS) India is facing a sleep health crisis, that is further soaring diseases affecting the heart and brain, said health experts here on World Sleep Day on Friday.

World Sleep Day is celebrated every year on March 15 to raise awareness about the importance of sound sleep for health and well-being. The theme this year is Sleep Equity for Global Health.

Sleeping a minimum of seven hours every day is essential for good health, if not it can affect your body, both physically and mentally.

According to health experts, sleep deprivation is one of the highest in India among global countries.

This was seen in a survey by the social community platform LocalCircles on World Sleep Day, which showed that 61 per cent of Indians got less than 6 hours of uninterrupted sleep at night in the last 12 months.

The percentage of sleep-deprived Indians has been increasing in the last two years: it was 50 per cent in 2022 and 55 per cent in 2023.

“In India, we’re facing a sleep health crisis, which is further intensified by our always-on lifestyle and other stressors. With one of the highest rates of sleep deprivation globally, it’s critical for us to re-evaluate our approach to sleep, while recognising its role in preventing non-communicable diseases and maintaining mental and physical health,” Dr. Prabash Prabhakaran, Senior Consultant – Neurology, Apollo Speciality Hospitals, Chennai, told IANS.

Dr. Gajinder Kumar Goyal, Director Cardiology, Marengo Asia Hospitals, Faridabad told IANS that sleep deprivation can affect heart health by increasing blood pressure and heart rate.

“Usually blood pressure dips by 10 to 20 per cent during the night. But with sleep deprivation this does not occur leading to nocturnal hypertension that is linked directly to high incidence of cardiovascular events,” Dr. Gajinder explained.

He noted that sleep-deprived individuals are also more likely to develop diabetes, and high cholesterol and indulge in faulty dietary habits. So adequate and sound sleep of at least 7 hours is essential to keep our heart healthy, the doctor said.

“Sleep quality, affected by poor sleep hygiene and overuse of digital devices, is also causing significant health effects, both physical and mental. We cannot ignore sleep, which occupies a third of an average person’s lifespan,” Dr. Lancelot Pinto, Consultant Pulmonologist and Epidemiologist, P. D. Hinduja Hospital & MRC, Mahim told IANS.

Further, lack of sleep is also linked to early dementia, affecting both short and long-term memory, concentration, creativity, and problem-solving abilities, said Dr Satish Nirhale, Consultant Neurologist at DPU Super Specialty Hospital, Pune.

It can also raise mental health problems like irregular mood swings, and anxiety, and potentially lead to depression, he told IANS.



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