One of the most common symptoms of sleep disorders, snoring shouldn’t be taken lightly as it could develop into a more serious condition, sleep experts cautioned as the world celebrates the World Sleep Day on March 15.
Experts estimate that more than 50 per cent of the UAE population suffers from at least one or more sleeping disorders, mirroring the global average in developing countries.
Insomnia is the top reported sleep disorder followed by obstructive sleep apnoea (OSA), a condition that causes interrupted breathing during sleep, and affects 22 per cent of the UAE population.
Further, almost 20-30 per cent of the working population complains of poor sleep quality, experts said. Most sleep disorders are linked to obesity, and cause serious health conditions.
In Nigeria, 60-70 per cent of the working population, especially in cities like Lagos, are victims of poor sleep quality.
The annual World Sleep Day is a call to action on issues related to sleep as sleep disorders lead to significant health problems and reduced quality of life. The commemoration aims to lessen the burden of sleep problems on society through better prevention and management of sleep disorders.
Dr Emmad Kowatli, an American-board certified specialist in pulmonary medicine and sleep disorders, and director of the Sleep Centre at the American Hospital Dubai, told newsmen that the three top sleep disorders reported in the UAE are insomnia, obstructive sleep apnoea, and Delayed Sleep Phase Syndrome (DSPS), a condition in which sleep is regularly delayed by two or more hours and waking up in the morning is difficult.
“If undiagnosed, sleep disorders could lead to serious health complications. Poor sleep is linked to hypertension [high blood pressure], heart failure, heart disease, stroke, and sexual dysfunction. It is also linked to certain cancers, diabetes and high cholesterol. Sleep disorders negatively impact natural sleep cycle, affecting day to day activities like driving and overall performance. Sleep deprivation causes drowsiness that can slow reaction time as much as driving drunk. Sleep insufficiency linked to motor vehicle crashes,” Dr Kowatli said.
He explained that in the case of OSA, the risk of hypertension, heart attack, stroke and Type 2 diabetes is higher if the condition is not treated. “Snoring is the first symptom of obstructive sleep apnoea.”
Dr Hassan Al Hariri, head of the Sleep Centre at Rashid Hospital, said, that sleep disorders, including OSA and sleep deprivation, are a global epidemic. “Proper diagnosis and intervention are necessary to reduce the burden, especially weight reduction to manage obstructive sleep apnoea. Our study, published in the International Journal of Internal Medicine, suggests that OSA affects 22 per cent of the UAE population.”
Dr Shafine Oty, a naturopath at XY Clinics in Dubai, told Gulf News that most people enrol in the clinic’s low energy/fatigue programme and discover that the root cause of low energy is lack of sleep or disturbed sleep.
“We estimate that 20-30 per cent of the working population complains of poor sleep quality,” she said.
Chronic stress combined with factors like consumption of protein-heavy meals late at night and presence of gastrointestinal conditions can affect quality of sleep negatively, she said. [GN]