Insomnia is a common sleep disorder. People who have insomnia have trouble falling asleep, staying asleep, or both. Insomnia is often accompanied by fatigue, foggy thinking, irritability, depression and anxiety. One may have trouble focusing on tasks, paying attention, learning, and remembering. Insomnia is a sleep disorder that affects millions, and the number is growing every day. Among sufferers, more than 93 percent agree that this disorder can affect the performance of their work the next day. World-wide, America has the largest number of insomniacs followed by Germany and United Kingdom.
The first ever African and Asian study of sleep problems revealed that 1 out of every 20 Indian suffers from sleep disorders. For years, sleep disorders out of every 20 Indian suffers from sleep disorders. For years, sleep disorders were thought to be a western-developed world problem but this study has debunked that myth. Indian women (6.5 per cent ) outnumber men (4.3 per cent), when it comes to disturbed sleep. Sleep disorders are usually linked to mental health issues like depression and anxiety. Around 4 per cent Indian men who reported severe/extreme nocturnal sleep problems suffered from severe depression, while 3 per cent reported severe anxiety. The statistics were similar for women (3.79 per cent reporting severe depression and 2.8 per cent suffering from severe anxiety).
The research conducted by the Warwick Medical School analysed the sleep quality of 24,434 women and 19,501 men — aged 50 years and above — in eight rural global locations like Ghana, Tanzania, South Africa, India, Bangladesh, Vietnam and Indonesia and Kenya.The survey also suggested 16 per cent of the population suffered from insomnia in the countries surveyed, not far from the 20 per cent that suffer from insomnia in the West. The findings suggest that sleeplessness affects an estimated 150 million in the developing world.
In the next 20 years, over 260 million people will experience sleep disorders. “Therefore, these estimates suggest that sleep disturbances may represent a significant and unrecognised problem among older people in low-income settings. These findings further emphasise the global dimension of sleep problems as an emerging public health issue,” said the study.
According to Dr Saverio Stranges, from the University of Warwick Medical School, “We estimate that 5-6 per cent of people aged 50 years and above may be affected by sleep disorders in India. Sleep problems and associated psychiatric co-morbidities like depression and anxiety and reduced quality of life may represent an important factor in these epidemiological trends.” Various studies have also shown that sleep disorders can seriously affect everyday efficiency and longevity.
Lifestyle changes including better sleep habits often help relieve acute insomnia. If you do not address your insomnia, however, it may develop into chronic insomnia.
Indian Software Engineers Sleep Deprived.
A recent study on India’s highly skilled software engineers found that a large number of them are sleep deprived and suffer from insomnia.
Lead researchers Sara Sarrafi Zadeh and Khyrunnisa Begum from the University of Mysore stated, “In view of the serious health consequences of insomnia in software engineers who are at high risk, suitable awareness programs should be developed as a preventative measure.
“Sleep assessment should be included as part of routine medical check-ups so that management of the problem is easier in the early stages. Lifestyle management programs which include sleep hygiene and care should be incorporated as a policy matter in the IT industry.”
Some Insomnia Symptoms
- Poor concentration and focus.
- Difficulty with memory.
- Impaired motor coordination (being uncoordinated).
- Irritability and impaired social interaction.
- Motor vehicle accidents because of fatigued, sleep-deprived drivers.
- Insomnia is generally a symptom of an underlying situation or another medical or psychological problem, which may need to be addressed first or at the same time.
Some Insomnia Causes
- Jet lag.
- Changes in shift work.
- Excessive or unpleasant noise.
- Uncomfortable room temperature (too hot or too cold).
- Stressful situations in life (exam preparation, loss of a loved one, unemployment, divorce, or separation).
- Presence of an acute medical or surgical illness or hospitalisation.
- Withdrawal from drug, alcohol, sedative, or stimulant medications.
- Insomnia related to high altitude (mountains).
- Stress (mental, emotional, situational, etc).
- Schizophrenia, and/or
- Mania (bipolar disorder).
- Chronic pain syndromes.
- Chronic fatigue syndrome.
- Night time angina (chest pain) from heart disease.
- Acid reflux disease (GERD).
- Obstructive sleep apnea.
- Degenerative diseases, such as Parkinson’s disease and Alzheimer’s disease, strokes, or trauma to the brain.
The main focus of treatment for insomnia should be directed towards finding the cause. Once a cause is identified, it is important to manage and control the underlying problem, as this alone may eliminate the insomnia all together. Treating the symptoms of insomnia without addressing the main cause is rarely successful.
- Sleep as much as you need to feel rested; do not oversleep.
- Exercise regularly at least 20 minutes daily, ideally 4-5 hours before your bedtime.
- Avoid forcing yourself to sleep.
- Keep a regular sleep and awakening schedule.
- Do not drink caffeinated beverages later than the afternoon (tea, coffee, soft drinks etc.) Avoid “night caps,” (alcoholic drinks prior to going to bed).
- Do not smoke, especially in the evening.
- Do not go to bed hungry.
- Adjust the environment in the room (lights, temperature, noise, etc.).
- Do not go to bed with your worries; try to resolve them before going to bed.
Yoga and Relaxation Therapy
Relaxation therapy involves measures such as yoga exercises, meditation and muscle relaxation or dimming the lights and playing soothing music prior to going to bed.
Some sedative drugs are also used to treat insomnia. Ayurveda offers herbal remedies.
- The best bet : go to bed when you feel sleepy.
Studies have shown that combining medical and non-medical treatments typically is more successful in treating insomnia than either one alone.