Sleep problems constitute a global epidemic that threatens health and quality of life


Due to busy schedule of Modern life, the bed time of the people has been hampered day by day. Many of us steal the time of sleep for work or entertainment, as a consequence the biological clock has changed and many problems are arising. In  this perspective for mass awareness on the importance of sleep, World Sleep Day has been celebrated by World sleep this year a program on the 10th world Sleep Day has been celebrated  by SOMNOS SLEEP CLINIC, KOLKATA & IRIS HOSPITAL, KOLKATA at Irish Multi-specialty Hospital Kolkata on the theme of this year is“Sleep Soundly, Nurture Life” DR Sourav Das, renowned Sleep Specialist and Psychiatrist as well as coordinator of World sleep Society in Eastern India has analyzed the problems and discussed about the sleep as follows:

  • A man spends one third of his life sleeping. Yet, strangely, sleep is mostly neglected in our everyday lives. When we are young, we study and work sacrificing our sleep at the slightest pretext, often curtailing sleep for that extra hour of work/ studies. When we grow old, we try to fall asleep at any cost and use and abuse sedatives in the process.


  • Sound sleep is a treasured function and one of the core pillars of health. When sleep fails, health declines, decreasing quality of life. Sleep and energy balance are essential for health. During sleep, energy is conserved due to suspended activity, movement, and sensory responses, and is redirected to restore and replenish proteins and their assemblies into cellular structures. Sleep also serves the very important function of information processing and memory consolidation.


  • Sleep problems constitute a global epidemic that threatens health and quality of life for up to 45% of the world’s population. Three elements of good quality sleep are:


    • Duration: The length of sleep should be sufficient for the sleeper to be rested and         alert the following day.
    • Continuity: Sleep periods should be seamless without fragmentation.
    • Depth: Sleep should be deep enough to be restorative.


  • There are close to one hundred sleep disorders known to mankind and fortunately most of these are preventable or treatable. The most common ones are insomnia, obstructive sleep apnea and restless leg syndrome.


  • In India, the prevalence of obstructive sleep apnea is 13.7%. OSA is an independent risk factor for hypertension and other cardiovascular ailments and untreated sleep apnea may lead to heart diseases, stroke, diabetes, obesity, impotence and vascular dementia. In children, sleep apnea may be the underlying cause of neuropsychological disturbances.


  • Both adults and children should be formally investigated in sleep centres if sleep apnea is suspected, because both adult and pediatric sleep apnea is treatable and correctable; a correct and precise diagnosis is always required.



  • Sleep apnea is diagnosed with level 1 fully attended polysomnography in the sleep laboratory consisting of atleast 7 EEG, 2 EMG leads apart from the others leads like airflow, ECG, oximetry etc. It is very important to get the study data manually scored by a certified sleep specialist or sleep technician for correct interpretation of results which paves the way for correct diagnosis and treatment. Portable home sleep studies miss out on EEG leads or have only 1-2 EEG leads which make recognizing the various sleep wake stages inaccurate and difficult. Computerised/ automatic scoring can’t recognize the EEG waves correctly and hence often lead to inappropriate results and thus faulty diagnosis.



  • Treatment with non-invasive positive airway (continuous positive airway pressure, or CPAP) ventilation is generally successful. Surgery to remove excessive tissues in the oropharynx may be considered for individuals who cannot tolerate non-invasive equipment or who have obvious obstruction to airflow in the oropharynx by redundant tissue growth or large tonsils, and is particularly helpful for children with OSA. There is proof that successful correction of sleep apnea with non-invasive positive airway pressure ventilation lowers mean blood pressure and may reduce the risk of myocardial infarction and stroke. Excessive daytime somnolence generally improves with successful treatment of sleep apnea.


  • Insomnia affects around 35-40% of the general adult population. Lack of sleep or poor quality sleep also leaves us more vulnerable to accidents causing death or serious injury. Those with insomnia suffer from more symptoms of anxiety and depression and can affect work performance and have a general negative impact in all areas life including reduced job prospects and loss of employment.


  • Restless Legs Syndrome is a common disorder and occurs in between 3-10% of the population, and is characterised by a vague and difficult-to-describe unpleasant sensation in the legsworse at rest and at night and relieved by movement or massage. If untreated, it impairs daytime functioning, productivity and can increase risk of depression, hypertension, kidney and heart diseases.


  • Final note: Be aware that patients suffering from sleep complaints, or who suffer from excessive daytime sleepiness, should see a physician and, if needed, obtain a consultation in a sleep center.