Revealed: 65% of UAE residents lack proper sleep


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Dubai - Normal sleeping patterns are considered to be between six and nine hours per day.

by Purva Grover

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Published: Fri 22 Jan 2021, 7:00 PM

Lack of sleep is a real problem in the world today, with many people compensating sleep deprivation on weekdays with excess sleep on weekends. Experts stay divided on the concept. Yet, yawn, we’re constantly struggling to catch up on lost sleep. Even though sleep deprivation can happen due to many reasons, majority of it is related to work pressure and a hectic lifestyle.

A recent study showed that 65 per cent of UAE residents lack proper sleep and that heavy smartphone usage is one of the reasons for sleep deprivation.

Normal sleeping patterns are considered to be between six and nine hours per day. Science shows us that sleep has different stages (light sleep, REM sleep, deep sleep) and that the body needs a certain number of hours in each one, as different stages allow different parts of our body to recover.

Dr Saliha Afridi, clinical psychologist and managing director of The Lighthouse Arabia, a community mental health and wellness clinic, said that given the hours of operations of retail and restaurant businesses and how crowded the coffee shops in the evenings and late night are, it can be inferred that people in the city are not getting sufficient quality or quantity of sleep.

“Duration of sleep and bed-time habits are genetically programmed in an individualised pattern. Due to this, we see high fluctuation in inter-individual variations. Also, it is important to remember that cultural and professional influences, such as jet lags, midnight meals, late-night screen time, affect natural sleep patterns that lead to fatigue,” said Dr Olivier Staneczek, a specialist in pulmonology and internal medicine at Clinique La Prairie Medical, known for their Better Sleep Programme to help patients reconfigure sleep patterns through medical diagnosis, stress-relieving techniques, and holistic treatments.

He added that late-night screen time and UV light exposure is a main factor that leads to sleep deprivation, especially these days where work and leisure activities are managed over smartphone devices.

“Also, psychological stress and vigorous sports activity 90 minutes before bedtime affect sleep.”

While no specific data suggested that a certain age group or gender is more sleep-deprived than the rest, experts believe that men and women who work or socialise late or care for young children until late fall into the bracket.

Dr Olivier said women are more prone to insomnia than men, generally. But men who fall under the overweight or obese category more often suffer from sleep apnea syndrome.

Lack of sleep due to sleeping disorders is an important issue that is often overlooked. Dr Mohammed Harriss, a pulmonology specialist at Medcare Hospital, Sharjah, said: “These include snoring-related sleep disorders and restless leg syndrome, which some patients suffer from during the night. Aging is another reason for sleep deprivation due to multiple co-morbidities and medications they are taking.”

It’s also a known fact that too little sleep in the night can have bad effects on metabolic disorders like diabetes mellitus, obesity and hypertension; putting some at higher risks, especially individuals with certain medical conditions like cancer and psychiatric disorders.

Dr Yousef Said, a specialist in internal medicine and diabetology at GluCare Integrated Diabetes Centre, Dubai, said that with the increased use of digital technology in healthcare and new research, good-quality sleep has been proven to have a vital impact on health and metabolism.

“For patients with chronic conditions like diabetes, blood pressure issues and obesity, studies have shown that sleep is important for maintaining healthy blood glucose levels, blood pressure, and weight. Complex mechanisms in our body during sleep, hormonal regulation in particular, can change the metabolism of our body. When you get enough quality sleep it improves weight loss as well as your blood glucose and blood pressure regulation,” he said.

Purva Grover

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