KOCHI: What is the price a city pays when it acquires the tag of ‘The city that doesn’t sleep?’ Plenty, according to doctors. Streaming platform Hotstar released its India Watch Report 2019, a study of online video consumption behaviour and trends based on the same. Kochi figures second on the list with the average log-off time at 2.37am, having overtaken metropolitan cities like New Delhi, Mumbai, Bengaluru and Chennai. It is bested only by Gurugram which has an average log-off time at 3.04am.
However, it may not be something Kochiites want to take into the next decade. Doctors report an increase in Kochiites with sleep disorders which go largely unreported, along with vision and lifestyle diseases. The tag is a wake-up call for the city that has witnessed much in the last five years, they say.
“Online penetration density is high. And when you’re hooked to platforms like Netflix, it invades your sleep time. Meddling with your sleep architecture is probably a future lifestyle disease which has its impact on the well-being of a person during the daytime. They are easily-provoked and have anger issues. At the same time, tampering with one’s sleep pattern is also due to occupational demand,” says Dr C J John, psychiatrist and senior consultant at the Medical Trust Hospital, Ernakulam.
According to him, Kochi’s internet use is definitely at par with western countries due to the education stature of the state. “But they have more awareness about the dangers of meddling into sleep architecture. Here, we haven’t started talking about the same,” he says.
Hard on the eyes
“The blue light emitted from these devices have been proven in various studies to affect one’s sleep cycle. The body’s internal circadian rhythm is reset by digital devices and we often do not realise the same. Also, watching videos after dimming lights damages the retina. It is being increasingly seen in younger age groups,” says Dr Gloria George, consultant, Focus Eye Clinic, Kochi. Vision problems are common in children who live in cities, as per Gloria. “Since they do not go out to play, their eyes aren’t trained to see at a longer distance. So, in many instances they have short sight,” she says.
Binge-watching and eating
Dr R Suresh Kumar, professor at Department of Naeurology and Sleep specialist at Amrita Comprehensive Sleep Centre, Amrita Hospital, Ernakulam, points out the binge-watching and binge-eating nature that go hand-in-hand. “People who sit late into night tend to eat late too. And they have several restaurants that cater to their needs. This further leads to obesity along with sleep disorders like insomnia and obstructive sleep apnea.
There is also an increase in the number of road accidents in highways due to disrupted sleep patterns,” he says. He mentions the rise in sleep disorders in the current generation. “People would hardly come to us with sleep issues. But of recent, many other departments are picking up sleep problems because of issues like hypertension, anxiety and stress. And then the patient is referred to us. Sleep disorders are diseases. People have to consult doctors as early as possible,” he says.
Kochi, you’re warned
A tag citing that a city doesn’t sleep is an indication of a booming economy. However, doctors say that it is also a warning sign. “Being one of the fastest-growing cities in India, a culture shift is happening among people. We need to take control and de-addict ourselves,” says Dr Suresh.
Dr John says that it is a wake-up call for healthy sleep. “Kochi has to be watchful. We need to be more responsible, disciplined, control our screen timings and have efficient sleep hygiene,” he says. “Companies should also reconsider working patterns. Many patients want to put efforts to correct their sleep. they cite company deadlines and say they’re helpless. Adults must get at least seven hours of sleep and children, about 10.” says Dr Gloria.
shift in past five years
The education stature of the state along with increased access to smartphones per person and an unending thirst for news and entertainment
The rise in eateries that work round-the-clock or are open till 3am and the advent of online food delivery platforms
The IT boom and increase in entertainment-based professions such as vlogging
How THE CITY compares
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