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Home > India > News > PTI

Insomniacs increasing in city that never sleeps

April 14, 2008 15:19 IST

In a city that never sleeps, residents are tossing and turning all night with the fast paced life taking a toll on their nocturnal patterns.

With the change in lifestyle and late night schedule, even the children are complaining of insomnia, health experts said.

Psychiatrist Manoj Bhatavadekar of the Lokmanya Seva Sangh and non-governmental organisation Juvenile Diabetes Foundation attribute this to lack of sleep hygiene.

"We recommend good sleep habits - wake up at a particular time even if one goes to bed late, avoiding stimulants before sleep, using bed only for sleeping and going to bed only when you feel sleepy," he said.

As part of a month-long drive, an awareness programme for general physicians and specialists on how to tackle the problem of insomnia without pills is being held in Mumbai.

Talking about children, he said, they need more sleep than adults but with their day packed with so many activities besides school, even the children go to bed late and have to get up early.

"Many of them are not able to concentrate because of lack of sleep and we get a lot of such cases," Bhatavadekar, who advises parents and students, said.

He said even in case of insomnia in patients with depression and other illnesses, the doctors teach them how to manage sleep.

Like insomnia, the number of people who snore is also increasing at an alarming rate.

Snoring, meaning obstructive breathing, is no longer a laughing matter and should be taken as a potential medical problem and taken seriously even when there are no other symptoms. It can also indicate a possibly dangerous and life-threatening disease, according to experts.

According to international classification, there are 88 types of sleep disorders. The common ones are insomnia, snoring, obstructive sleep apnea, nocturnal cardiac ischemia, sleep related asthma and pregnancy associated sleep disorders, according to Ramanathan Iyer, consulting sleep medicine expert at Hiranandani Hospital.

The sound of snoring originates in the collapsible part of the air passage where there is no rigid support. It involves the back of the nose, palate, tonsils and the tongue.

"It is important to appreciate that snorers need not be obese or overweight as commonly thought," Iyer said.

Heavy snorers are more likely to be hypertensive and develop angina pectoris than non-snorers. The most advanced stage of snoring is obstructive sleep apnea that causes cardiac, pulmonary and even behavioural problems, say experts.

OSA is a sleep-related disorder in which there is a repetitive collapse of the upper airway resulting in obstruction to breathing. The disease is principally manifested by snoring and daytime sleepiness.

Partial collapse of the airway in the night causes snoring while total collapse of the airway causes complete blockage of the pipe with no air reaching the lungs.

"These phenomenon can seriously affect the body, particularly brain and heart," he warned.

Heavy snorers should have a thorough examination of the mouth, nose, throat and larynx by an ENT surgeon. Studies in a sleep laboratory (polysomnograms) are essential in adults who have symptoms of sleep apnea, he said.

The city has many hospitals that offer polysomnograms that are done during the night, Iyer said.

A study done by expert A F Udwadia indicated that OSA is widely prevelant in India and approximately 7.5 per cent of the population suffers from this disorder.

In Western countries, the disorder has a prevalence of 0.03 per cent to 5.1 per cent, sleep medicine specialists said.

Snoring should not be ignored and proper medical advice from chest specialist, sleep medicine experts, neurologist and psychiatrist should be taken to get relief by the sufferers and the family members should help them in doing so, Harish Shetty of the Indian Psychiatry Association said.

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