For many years, Ola Hassan has been having irregular sleep.
She hard difficulty sleeping due to pregnancy, then later due to breastfeeding overnight and waking intermittently to hold her infant in the night.
By 5am, she is awake. Hassan usually wakes up tired, sluggish, irritable and sometimes with a headache. Experts described her as being sleep deprived.
Although there is no global statistics stating the number of people who have irregular sleep patterns, a publication in ncbi.nlm.nih.gov reveals that 50 to 70 million Americans chronically suffer from a disorder of sleep and wakefulness, hindering daily functioning and adversely affecting health and longevity.
A 2016 consumer report publication had 4,023 american adults saying they had trouble falling asleep or staying asleep most nights and an estimated 164 million Americans struggled with sleep at least once a week.
Americans spent an estimated $41 billion on sleep aids and remedies in 2015 and it has grown to $52 billion in 2020 according to an analyst, Natana Raj.
According to medicalnewstoday, sleep is a vital, often neglected component of every person’s overall health and well-being; it is important because it enables the body to repair and be fit and ready for another day.
Getting adequate rest may also help prevent excess weight gain, heart disease, and increased illness duration.
In a bid to increase the global awareness on sleep, World Sleep Day (WSD) is marked every March 14 to celebrate sleep, help those with serious sleep problems as well as further explain the importance of healthy sleep.
The annual event is organized by the World Sleep Day Committee of the World Sleep Society bringing researchers, health professionals and patients together to recognize sleep and its important impact on our health.
The 2021 WSD theme, ‘Regular Sleep, Healthy Future,’ highlights sleep’s important place as a pillar of health, connecting regular sleep to healthier physical and mental state in the future.
Just as the quality of life can be improved with healthy sleep, conversely, when sleep fails, health declines, decreasing quality of life.
In an exclusive chat with our correspondent, a Consultant mental health and sleep physician, Dr Adefemi Adeoye noted that regular sleep involves having a regular time for bed and waking up adding that individuals should try to see what works for him or her.
Sleep time he emphasized should not be haphazard such as 7pm today, 10pm tomorrow.
He insisted sleep is as important for good health as much as exercise and nutrition is.
Sleep helps with restoring energy, memory, develops our immunity, and other things, adding that individuals need to know what amount of sleep will keep them function optimally the following day.
Dr Adeoye, who is the pioneer of the sleep disorders unit at the Federal Neuropsychiatric Hospital, Yaba explained, “The daytime is for the body to function while the night is for sleep. Generally, about seven to eight hours of sleep is recommended for an adult. Lack of sleep is associated with mental health disorder. Whoever doesn’t sleep properly will experience tiredness, feeling sleepy the next day.”
Implications of improper sleep
The sleep expert maintained the implication of not having sufficient sleep is that it can impact negatively on the mental and physical health of an individual.
“Mental functioning in terms of the individual’s ability to concentrate, perform his duty. People are irritable when they are sleep deprived. There are hormonal changes in the body for someone who is deprived of sleep for too long and it could lead to cardiovascular problems like hypertension, diabetes, and others especially when sleep deprivation is becoming chronic (for a long time).”
Relevance of sleep
Getting enough sleep is important as it makes individuals get sick less often, stay at a healthy weight, lower risk for serious health problems such as diabetes and heart disease.
Regular sleep reduce stress and improves an individual’s mood, makes it easier to think more clearly and do better in school and at work as well as get along better with people.
Most adults need seven to eight hours of good quality sleep on a regular schedule each night, teens need eight to 10 hours of sleep and school-aged children need nine to 12 hours of sleep each night.
Preschoolers need to sleep between 10 and 13 hours a day (including naps), toddlers need to sleep between 11 and 14 hours a day (including naps), babies on the other hand need to sleep between 12 and 16 hours a day (including naps).
According to a 2018 study of more than 10,000 people in Healthline.com, the body’s ability to function declines if sleep isn’t in the seven- to eight-hour range.
Scientific evidence has demonstrated a connection between regular sleep and academic performance.
Both regular and irregular sleepers slept the same amount, but regular sleepers did better in school.
“Differences in academic performance were not associated with average sleep duration in our population, and our data suggest that polyphasic sleep schedules that distribute sleep around the clock may be less effective for students, even if they maintain total sleep time,” said Michael A. Grandner, PhD, MTR.
Grandner emphasized, “It is easier to achieve regular sleep when we set ourselves up for success. This means getting up at a regular time each day, preferably followed by bright light exposure and some movement to send a reliable daytime signal. Then, in the evening, budgeting sufficient time to wind down and detach is critical for being able to initiate sleep. Finally, maintaining good stimulus control (getting out of bed if you can’t sleep) will help build some resilience in the system. Taking these three things together—starting the morning, setting up the evening, and inoculating against nighttime disturbances—will help in the search for regular sleep.”
A Co-chair of WSD, Professor Fang Han, states, “We can apply the following principles to achieve regular sleep. First, exposure to natural daylight helps set the body clock. Second, building more activity into everyday life and keeping regular exercise. Third, switching off fully before bedtime will allow for relaxation. Finally, having positive emotions will help with a better overall health and wellbeing, as well as good sleep.”
Another Co-chairman of WSD, Lourdes DelRosso, and Associate Sleep Medicine Fellowship Director at University of Washington and Professor Fang Han, MD of The Sleep Center, Peking University People’s Hospital in Beijing, China expresses, “Sleep medicine physicians do not only treat sleep disorders, we also have a responsibility to promote sleep health. We know that regulating the time you go to sleep and wake up each day is associated with better sleep quality and length. Regular sleep is a great way to start off each day in a healthy way—paving the way for a healthier future.”
Relationship between sleep and bed
Mrs Rafiat, a Lagos based resident, says that she usually experiences constant body pain on certain types of mattress. The body pain was caused by the quality of bed she purchased.
In an explanation, a mattress distributor in Lagos acknowledged that procuring the right mattress which suits individual weight, will give the person a better sleep.
Azeez Olalekan who sells mattresses in Ikorodu declared that mattresses are of different categories varying from Orthopaedic (highest density) to deluxe (lowest density).
The categories of mattress people use depend on the weight of the person who wants to use it.
He stated that an orthopaedic mattress should be used by individuals who weigh 100kg upward, semi orthopaedic for those who weigh 90 to 100kg, the grand/corona mattress best suits people whose weight is 65kg to 70kg and the shine/deluxe should be used by 50kg downward individuals.
“But the ones most people go for is Vita Grand due to the fact that most people’s weight falls within 70 to 75kg and it’s not as expensive as Orthopaedic and Semi-orthopaedic.”
Quick facts about sleep
- Good sleep is essential to good health.
- Sleep health indicates how well an individual or population is doing.
- The length of sleep should be sufficient for the sleeper to be rested and alert the following day.
- Sleep should be deep enough to be restorative.
- Sleep plays a critical role in emotional processing.
- Sleep problems constitute a global epidemic that threatens health and quality of life for up to 45% of the world’s population.
- Regular sleepers have better mood and psychomotor performance, and increased time in REM and slow-wave sleep.
- Sleep regularity is positively associated with academic performance.
- Reduced sleep duration has been shown to cause impairments in working memory, executive function, processing speed, and cognitive throughput.
- Short sleep duration is associated with poor mental health.
- Good quality and restorative sleep is essential for day-to-day functioning.
- Healthy sleep in children will improve the child’s overall wellness and development. Quality sleep is responsible for alertness, improved functioning the following day and better quality of life.