ETimes conducted a sleep poll where it was revealed that 64% of the participants feel that they do not sleep enough. Up to 51% people shared that they sleep for 4-6 hours only and 10% clock less than 4 hours of sleep.
Sleep issues are highly underreported
Dr. Sanjiv Badhwar is Consultant and Head, ENT services at Kokilaben Dhirubhai Ambani Hospital shares sleep disorders have been largely under reported in our country but we have noticed an increase in the number of patients coming forward over the past 1 year. We are seeing the whole spectrum of sleep disorders, be it sleep deprivation, sleep fragmentation, difficulty in sleep initiation and sleep Apnoea. We are also seeing a number of children presenting with sleep Apnoea. The overall incidence of sleep Apnoea in our country for adults is around 15% and in children around 3.4 to 5%.
How to identify a sleep disorder
But how do you know you have a sleep disorder? Dr Badhwar adds, “A sleep disorder is diagnosed by a careful history, the use of some basic questionnaires, namely, the stop-bang questionnaire and the Epworth sleepiness scale and clinical examination. After this the patient undergoes relevant investigations for the same which may include some basic blood tests, x-rays and scans. The mainstay of diagnosis is the sleep study (polysomnography) which essentially is a test which tells us about the quality of sleep, the number of times an individual’s breathing stops during sleep, vital parameters and the oxygen saturation during sleep. This study gives us an indication if the patient has sleep apnoea or not and if so – is it mild, moderate or severe. An adjunctive test is the sleep endoscopy where the exact level of obstruction during sleep is ascertained.”
There are some signs that one must not ignore when it comes to sleep. For example, if you have excessive daytime sleepiness, snoring, disturbed sleep, gasping for air during sleep, loud snoring during sleep, extreme fatigue during the day, early morning headaches, irritability, mood swings, dry mouth, forgetfulness and recent onset of cardio vascular events, you may have sleep apnoea and need to consult your doctor.
It needs to be noted that the long term effects of sleep deprivation are real. There is a drain on mental ability and the individual’s physical health is at risk. There can be memory issues, mood changes, trouble with thinking and concentration, accidents during driving, weakened immunity, risk for diabetes, risk of heart disease, high BP and at times a low sex drive, the doctor added.
How to differentiate between regular snoring and sleep apnoea
Snoring is loud noise whilst breathing during sleep. This may or may not be sleep apnoea. For a lay person the most obvious way to differentiate is to identify how one feels during the day. Normal snoring does not interfere with the quality of sleep, so you are less likely to experience fatigue, irritability and sleepiness during the day. However the only way to be sure is a careful clinical examination and a sleep study.
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