The first ever African and Asian study of sleep problems has thrown up some startling Istatistics. 1 out of every 20 Indian suffers from sleep disorders. For years, sleep disorders was thought to be a western-developed world problem but this study has debunked that myth. Indian women (6.5%) outnumber men (4.3%), when it comes to disturbed sleep. Sleep disorders are usually linked to mental health issues like depression and anxiety. Around 4% Indian men who reported severe/extreme nocturnal sleep problems suffered from severe depression, while 3% reported severe anxiety. The stats were similar for women (3.79% reporting severe depression and 2.8% 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% of the population suffered from insomnia in the countries surveyed, not far from the 20% that suffer from insomnia in the West.
The findings suggest that sleeplessness epidemic affects an estimated 150 million in developing world.
In 20 years, over 260 million people will experience sleep disorders. “Therefore, these estimates suggest that sleep disturbances may represent a significant and unrecognized problem among older people in low-income settings. These findings further emphasize the global dimension of sleep problems as an emerging public health issue,” said the study.
Lead author Dr Saverio Stranges from the University of Warwick Medical School told TOI, “We estimate that 5%-6% 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.”
He added, “Our study recommends that sleep patterns be included in assessing an individual’s overall health. It also says lifestyle changes should be considered before prescribing medication.”
Sleep disorders like disturbed sleeping and snoring are being recognised as high risk factors for metabolic diseases. Obese people who suffer from sleep apnea are likelier to suffer from hypertension, diabetes, cardiovascular problems and cholesterol issues. Various studies have also shown that sleep disorders can seriously affect everyday efficiency and longevity.