The lack of enough good quality sleep, or sleep debt, can cause a number of physical and mental effects like fatigue, hypertension and decreased attention. Sleep debt can result from poor sleeping habits, but also from a number of sleep disorders like insomnia and sleep apnea. Dr Bhojo Khealani, Consultant Neurologist, Aga Khan University Hospital (AKUH) said that “in Pakistan it is estimated that 12 per cent of people are at risk of developing obstructive sleep apnea, a sleep disorder in which a person pauses breathing while sleeping.” Men, the elderly and those who are overweight are more prone to developing sleep apnea, and if left untreated it can cause low blood oxygen levels, sleep deprivation, stroke and heart failure.
“Almost one-third of our life is spent sleeping, which is why a regular sleep routine is so important,” said Dr Mughis Sheerani, Consultant Neurologist, AKUH. Though sleep is usually associated with inactivity, the brain maintains equal if not superior levels of electric activity during sleep time as compared with waking hours, and is extremely important for various functions of the body.
To highlight the issues surrounding sleep deprivation and disorders, AKUH will host a public awareness programme to commemorate World Sleep Day at the University's auditorium, with presentations by a number of physicians from different specialties.