Bengaluru trading sleep for time


Insomnia has hit the city like any other regular disease. Experts say that this is a result of stress and overworking.

A study conducted in 2016 in Bengaluru, showed that 33 percent of the adult population is suffering from insomnia. Another study showed sleep deprivation is common among the South Indian population.

In 2019, a research was conducted by Fitbit, a company that makes devices for health and fitness, shows that India is the second most inactive country. The prime reason is sleep deprivation. The research stated that country’s adult population is lacking enough sleep.

Abhishek Desai, a 22-year-old MBA student said that he was diagnosed with insomnia one and half years ago. He had sleeplessness before he went to see the doctor and hardly slept for three to four hours even after staying awake for three days at a stretch.

Desai said, “That’s when I started getting a little bit concerned. I was not feeling sleepy, but I was getting tired also. I was trying to sleep but I wasn’t able to sleep.”

Psychiatrist, Dr. Valli Kiran said that people ignore sleeping hours for the sake of work or study to meet the demand of fast-paced life. There can be also underlying conditions such as emotional trauma, anxiety, diseases that can affect one’s sleeping hours.  Diet can be another reason for poor sleep and beverages can create problems in sleep schedules.

He added, nowadays people are addicted to their smart phones, and binge-watching something before going to bed, and while doing so they comprise the sleeping hours.

Madhuri Math, an IT fresher said, “Usually I go to bed by 12:30 a.m. but to fall asleep it mostly takes 3 a.m. in the morning, and sometimes it’s 5 a.m. and sometimes no sleep at all.” She feels tired throughout the day and less productive or energetic, said she. She added that whenever there is too much work and too little time she prefers to stay awake and finish her work otherwise she feels anxious. “As my sleeping duration kept decreasing the thought of insomnia occurred in my mind but due to busy schedules and everything in life, didn’t give it much attention,” said she about seeing a doctor.

Maintaining a healthy sleep schedule is difficult for the people who work for foreign companies and work according to another time zone. Pallab Mondal is one such employee who has faced trouble with their sleep schedule. He said, “My sleep schedule was drastically upset after the office reopened because my work shifts are scheduled according to the Greenwich Mean Time (GMT). I have to attend certain office meetings until 1:30 a.m. even after I return. So, eventually, I fall asleep around 2:30 a.m., and the cycle repeats itself the next day.” He added that his productivity level went down due to a disrupted sleep schedule. Now, he takes prescribed sleeping tablets which help him to sleep well.

Ratna Paul, a 66-year-old woman said, “. I go to bed at 11 p.m. and wake up at 4 a.m and even if I sometimes go to bed at 2 a.m. I wake up at the same time. I feel drowsy sometimes during the day, but I cannot go to bed leaving so much work.”

Dr. Kiran said, “Lack of adequate sleep increases the chance of having hypertension, worsening cardiac health, developing mental health problems and psychosomatic condition. Also, the immune response goes down.”

People nowadays do not maintain sleep hygiene. In sleep hygiene one maintains strict bedtime: going to bed and waking up at the same time every day, Dr. Kiran adds. He said that our heads associate bed with sleeping, it happens because of a habit from childhood. So, there is classical conditioning that our brain follows. But nowadays due to work from home (WFH) people are doing work sitting on their bed due to the classical conditioning getting disrupted that directly affects our sleep. He added that one should not ignore sleep or sleep-related disorder and comprise upon sleep at any cost.

In 2019, Dr. Nasreen Akhtar, from the Department of Physiology, All India Institute of Medical Sciences, and Dr. Hrudananda Mallick, president of the Indian Society of Sleep Research recommended including National Sleep Policy in National Health Policy.

The recommendation stated that sleep deprivation can affect one’s decision-making ability, cognitive function, cardiovascular health, drowsiness while driving, and overall productivity.  Thus, the policy recommended to ensure work shifts for certain kinds of jobs, increase awareness in the general public about the, to establish an expert body to carry out research in sleep.