How lifestyle changes can address sleep disorders
Sleep loss and sleep disorders are among the most common health problems. Yet, they are often overlooked. It is estimated that 50 to 70 million Americans chronically suffer from sleep disorder, which affects daily functioning as well as their health and longevity. While 7-8 hours of sleep every day is recommended, almost 30 per cent of Americans are sleeping 6 hours or less.
Sleep problems may be increasing in developing nations as well. Nearly 17 per cent of the patients surveyed across eight countries in Asia and Africa reported trouble with sleep. According to a study conducted by The Nielsen Company, a market research company, 93 per cent of urban Indians in the age group of 35-65 years are sleep deprived. They either don’t sleep well or are not able to sleep at all.
What are the types of sleep disorders that impair physical, psychological and social aspects of well-being?
The most common sleep disorder is generally caused by hectic work schedules. Those who work on night shifts face circadian rhythm (biological clock) disturbance. Their sleeping patterns are disturbed as they remain active throughout the night but do not get sleep during the day as daylight does not allow people to sleep well. It can be a short-term condition (acute), lasting days or weeks, or long-term (chronic), lasting for a month or more.
Acute insomnia is sometimes caused by stressful events. Changes in lifestyle, including avoiding caffeine, going to bed and waking up around the same time every day, and avoiding heavy meals and bright lights before bedtime, could be of help.