By OLAYINKA LATONA
Sleep is a basic human need a crucial component of healthy living, much like breathing, eating and remaining physically fit. Unfortunately, in
today’s world, sleep is often compromised by the habits of modern lifestyle. March 18 is recognised globally as World Sleep Day to raise awareness about the merits of sleeping well for a healthy life. Theme for this year “Promoting Healthy Sleep For All Ages”.
Experts say sleep disorders constitute a global epidemic which is affecting up to 45 percent of the world’s population. Sleep disorders such as insomnia, obstructive sleep apnea (OSA), restless legs syndrome (RLS), and sleep deprivation significantly impact physical, mental and emotional health, in addition to affecting work performance and personal relationships.
The World Association of Sleep Medicine (WASM) says a good night’s sleep is vital for the health and well-being of people of all ages. It warns that less than six hours of sleep each night, increases risk for disease.
Sleep problems, according to WASM, are not limited to adults but affect about 25 per cent of the world’s children. Lack of quality sleep in children can lead to accidental injuries, hyper/hypo activity, obesity, emotional problems (irritability, aggressiveness), impaired memory amongst others. Sleep disorders also make it more difficult to control diabetes, hypertension and coronary heart disease.
Children and sleep
A full-night’s sleep helps children function at their best both at home and at school. Sleep according to health experts is essential for a child’s happiness and well-being.
On the other hand, insomnia, the most common sleep disorder, is highly co- morbid with psychiatric disorders, and may lead to anxiety, depression and even suicide. Health experts said it has been demonstrated in various studies that insomnia is associated with a high risk of hypertension and Type 2 Diabetes. While short sleep duration also impacts mortality.
There is evidence suggesting that public health policy should emphasise the diagnosis and appropriate treatment of chronic insomnia.
Each individual’s sleep need varies. For the majority of adults, the daily sleep need is between 7 and 9 hours. Some people need even more than 9 hours and others need less than 7, but this is rare. If you are awake and alert during the day and feel satisfied with your sleep, then you are getting enough sleep.
Sleep and aging
There is a myth that people need less sleep as they age. This is simply not true: Older adults need seven to nine hours of sleep every night. However, good sleep is harder to get as we age because of health conditions, medications and other reasons. Protecting your sleep as you age will give you more energy and better health.
Sleep makes one feels refreshed, it improve heart health, boost the memory. Other benefits include improving the skin and helping one to concentrate.