HEALTH & FITNESS

Nearly 30% of the Indian population suffers from insomnia

Nearly 30% of the Indian population suffers from insomnia. Here are expert-recommended tips to sleep better at night.

Several studies have highlighted the detrimental effects of poor sleep on the brain health, with some even linking sleep deprivation to cognitive decline and dementia. A recent study from University College London also suggested that insufficient sleep negates the benefits of exercise for the brain. This issue holds particular relevance for India, where a substantial proportion of the population suffers from sleep-related issues. India faces a growing sleep crisis, with an alarmingly high number of individuals grappling with sleep-related disorders.

Dr. Murali Mohan B V, Senior Consultant, Internal Medicine, Pulmonology, Mazumdar Shaw Medical Center, Narayana Health City, Bangalore, highlighted that around 30 per cent of the Indian population suffers from insomnia, while sleep apnea affects nearly 24 per cent of adults.

Health consequences of chronic sleep deprivation

Dr. Murali said, “Inadequate sleep not only affects physical health but also has a profound impact on cognitive function and overall well-being. Chronic sleep deprivation can lead to cognitive impairment, memory deficits, reduced attention span, and decreased productivity. Moreover, individuals experiencing poor sleep are at a higher risk of developing mental health disorders such as depression, anxiety, and mood disturbances. Sleep deprivation has also been linked to an increased risk of chronic health conditions like cardiovascular disease, diabetes, and obesity. It also leads to issues such as reduced fertility and causes an impaired immune function.”

The consequences of sleep deprivation on health are concerning. “Increased susceptibility to infections, impaired immune function, and heightened inflammation are common outcomes of poor sleep. Furthermore, inadequate sleep also increases risks of accidents, workplace errors, and diminished quality of life,” he added.

Some tips for improving sleep quality

To improve sleep quality, Dr. Murali encourages people to:

  • Establish a consistent sleep routine: Maintain a regular sleep-wake schedule by going to bed and waking up at the same time each day, even on weekends.
  • Create a sleep-friendly environment: Ensure a dark, quiet, and comfortable bedroom that promotes relaxation and minimizes disruptions.
  • Practice relaxation techniques: Engage in relaxation exercises like deep breathing, meditation, or gentle stretching before bedtime to calm the mind and prepare for sleep.
  • Limit stimulants: Avoid consuming caffeine, nicotine, and alcohol close to bedtime, as they can disrupt sleep patterns.
  • Prioritize sleep hygiene: Maintain a sleep-friendly lifestyle by avoiding large meals before bedtime, limiting screen time, and engaging in regular physical activity.

Engaging in physical activity can enhance brain function by promoting neuroplasticity and reducing the risk of cognitive decline. However, insufficient sleep undermines these advantages, potentially negating the positive effects, Dr. Murali added.

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