Sleep well to stay healthy: Experts

Muscat - 

Doctors and experts in Oman have highlighted the importance of getting good and enough sleep, saying lack of it could lead to an increased risk of developing health problems such as high blood pressure, diabetes and hormonal imbalance.

The advice is relevant on the occasion of World Sleep Day, intended to be a celebration of sleep and a call to act on important issues related to sleep. World Sleep Day falls on March 15 this year.

It is the Friday before Vernal (Spring) Equinox of each year.

According to experts, sleep is essential in maintaining health and well-being, and there are implications when people don’t get enough. Disruption in sleep routine can also impact daytime functioning, reduce alertness, cause mood swings and create an increased risk of injuries such as road accidents related to fatigue.

Dr Mridula Rao, ENT specialist at Hatat Polyclinic, said sleep disorders can range from simple snoring to the more severe forms of the disorder like sleep apnoea in which patient’s breathing stops temporarily for few seconds. “I advise people to go to bed in time and if possible to have an afternoon nap. People should also exercise regularly and prevent obesity in order to reduce the severity of sleep disorders,” she added.

Sleep loss continues to be an increasing problem in modern society, and so does the health risks associated with it. But while most of the discussions on sleep deficiency point to the many chronic health problems, the cost of poor sleep is much more straightforward than many people think – it accelerates human ageing.

“The importance of sleep for good health cannot be overstated. Quality sleep in an individual’s younger years helps in good mental development. In the same manner, there is mounting research that indicates maintaining sound sleep habits in middle age protects one against age-related cognitive decline and Alzheimer’s disease during senior years. This is important to keep in mind, especially with Alzheimer’s disease found to be spreading fast in the MENA region and the World Health Organization predicting a 125 per cent increase in these cases in the region by 2050,” said Abdul Karim al Sulaiman, managing director, Bed Quarter Company, the exclusive distributor of Tempur mattresses and pillows in the region. Dr Kausar Nadaf, general practitioner at Badr al Samaa Hospital in Ruwi, said sleep disorder can also cause memory loss and cardiac issues and nothing can make up for a good night sleep. “Sleep disorder can lead to heart-related problems and loss of memory. An afternoon nap can add value to the body system. The body needs six to eight hours of sleep in a day especially during the night. One should try to make up for the lost night-time sleep when possible.”

Eng Saif Aldeen F al Bliwi, sales and service engineer – Sleep & Respiratory Care, Trade & Marketing Professionals, a company dealing with the solutions to sleep apnoea, said, “Sleep apnoea usually is a chronic (ongoing) condition that disrupts your sleep. When your breathing pauses or becomes shallow, you’ll often move out of deep sleep and into light sleep.”

To tackle this issue, Eng Bliwi said there is sleep apnoea therapy. “Positive airway pressure machines, used with a variety of breathing masks, are the most widely used treatment for moderate and severe sleep apnoea.”

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