BENGALURU: Sleep is as important to our health as eating, drinking and breathing. It allows our bodies to repair themselves and our brains to consolidate our memories and process information.
Sleep has a major impact on day to day activities, their impact can be enumerated as per time frame
Short –Term Health Impact
■ Increase stress
■ Disturbed mood
■ Impair ability to concentrate
Long term health impact
■ Heightened risk factor for diabetes
■ Increased risk for breast cancer
■ High blood pressure
■ Decreased immune function
■ Major depression
■ Cardiovascular disease
Impact on relationships
The consequences of poor sleep extend far beyond personal health – they can also affect our interactions with others. At the 2013 Society for Personal And Social Psychology(SPSP) annual meeting, scientists from UC Berkeley presented new research suggesting that inadequate sleep can impair our ability to appreciate our partners and loved ones, which can lead to stress and tension in relationship. The SPSP reports that less sleep means fewer feelings of gratitude and higher levels of selfishness, both of which can make a partner feel unacknowledged and unappreciated
Financial and economic impact
On a broader scale, poor sleep can have costly and often tragic consequences for society.
Insomniacs lose 11.3 days of productivity a year, costing companies $2,280 per person.
-According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, drowsy driving causes 100,000 car crashes each year, costing about $12.5 million dollars annually.
Identify healthy sleep
Sleep is vital to our physical and mental health. But, how can we tell whether you’re truly sleeping well? Especially if you work shifts, your sleep probably does not look exactly like other peoples’ sleep. It can
be hard to measure your sleep pattern against those of the people around you.
On an average, adults should optimally receive between seven and nine hours of sleep each night, but those needs vary individually. For example, some people feel best with eight consecutive hours of sleep, while others do well with six to seven hours at night and daytime naps. Some people feel okay when their sleep schedule changes, while others feel very affected by a new schedule or even one night of insufficient sleep. Here are some statements about your sleep. If these apply to you, it’s a good sign that your sleep is on track. If you’re a shift worker and you don’t agree with many of these, it could mean that you need to make changes in your behaviours and routines to improve your sleep.
■ You fall asleep within 15-20 minutes of lying down to sleep.
■ You regularly sleep a total of seven to nine hours in a 24-hour period.
■ While in your bed, your sleep is continuous—you don’t have long periods of lying awake when you wish to be sleeping.
■ You wake up feeling refreshed, as if you’ve “filled the tank.”
■ You feel alert and are able to be fully productive throughout the waking hours (note, it’s natural for people to feel a dip in alertness during waking hours, but with healthy sleep, alertness returns).
■ Your partner or family members do not notice any disturbing or out of the ordinary behaviour from you while you sleep, such as snoring pauses in breathing, restlessness, or otherwise night-time behaviours.
■ Shift workers who try to sleep during the day often wake up after fewer than seven to nine hours, because of the alerting signals coming from their Circadian system. This does not mean they don’t need seven to eight hours of sleep per day—it just means it’s harder to sleep during the day. Over time, this can lead to chronic sleep deprivation.
The author is a consultant - interventional pulmonology MBBS, MD, DM (Pulmonary & Critical Care Medicine) at Aster CMI Hospital