HYDERABAD: From binge-watching to overthinking and stress eating, several habits that are considered harmless as part of our lifestyle have been found to be common causes of sleep disorders. Sleep, as simple as it may seem, is a complex physiological process and it plays a very important role in the overall healthy well-being of an individual, say doctors.
“Any disturbances in the normal sleep pattern can have profound effects on the mental and physical wellbeing of the person and chronic deprivation of sleep can result in worsening of health conditions like diabetes, hypertension and cardiac problems. In addition, it can result in poor performance at work and low quality of life,” warns Dr Viswesvaran Balasubramanian, consultant, interventional pulmonology, and sleep medicine, Yashoda Hospitals, Somajiguda. Reasons for chronic deprivation of sleep in the current generation could be attributed to the overuse of multimedia devices and poor sleep hygiene.
The doctor lists non-adherence to regular sleep timings, lack of regular physical activity, sedentary lifestyle coupled with consumption of caffeinated drinks, alcohol, smoking, intake of certain drugs and stressful conditions in the workplace environment as common reasons for chronic sleep deprivation. In addition, excessive use of multimedia devices which emit blue light can lead to lack of melatonin production resulting in difficulty in initiating and maintaining sleep,” he adds.
Melatonin is a natural hormone released by the pineal gland in the brain at night and is associated with the control of the sleep-wake cycle. The brain and the body need sleep to function at their optimal level. The importance of sleep and rejuvenation has been highlighted by corporations with the advent of the workfrom- home culture. Recently, Wakefit.co at Kondapur, was in the news for rolling out the ‘Right to nap’ policy to allow their employees to recenter themselves between 2 to 2.30 pm.
“With the work-from-home culture, the blurred boundaries between work and leisure allowed employees the flexibility to take afternoon naps between calls or meetings and rejuvenate themselves amidst their work schedules. Now that a lot of companies are getting back to the work-from-office model, they wanted to make sure that their employees had the privilege to take their afternoon naps,” says Chaitanya Ramalingegowda, co-founder of Wakefit. co, Kondapur. According to Dr Viswesvaran, maintaining a proper sleep-wake cycle on a day-to-day basis including on weekends is of great importance.
“Also, avoiding the use of multimedia devices at bedtime, adopting a healthy lifestyle with physical activity, meditation and avoiding stimulants like caffeinated drinks, smoking and other substances like alcohol can ensure good control over maintenance of sleep hygiene.
Get evaluated for underlying sleep-related problems like obstructive sleep apnea and other circadian rhythm disorders from sleep specialists to receive help in long term maintenance of good quality sleep,” he says and concludes with an important point: “Finally, lack of physical activity, chronic stress at the workplace and poor dietary patterns can also exacerbate sleeplessness. In turn, lack of sleep or poor quality of sleep can result in poor performance at work. So it’s a cycle that needs to be broken.”