World Sleep Day is an annual event, intended to be a celebration of sleep and a call to action on important issues related to sleep, including medicine, education, social aspects and driving.
Organised by the World Sleep Day Committee of World Sleep Society, it is observed every year on March 17 and aims to lessen the burden of sleep problems on society through better prevention and management of sleep disorders. As of 2016, World Sleep Day had a total of 394 delegates in 72 countries around the globe.
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Millions of people around the world are affected by chronic sleep disorders that can significantly diminish health, alertness, and safety. Untreated sleep disorders have been linked to hypertension, heart disease, stroke, depression, diabetes and other chronic diseases. Sleep problems can take many forms and can involve too little sleep, too much sleep or inadequate quality of sleep.
The Institute of Medicine, for instance, estimates in a recent report, Sleep Disorders and Sleep Deprivation: An Unmet Public Health Problem, that “hundreds of billions of dollars a year are spent on direct medical costs related to sleep disorders such as doctor visits, hospital services, prescriptions, and over-the-counter medications.”
Sleep problems and lack of sleep can affect everything from personal and work productivity to behavioural and relationship problems. Sleep problems can have serious consequences. Around the world, sleep problems cause thousands of lives from motor vehicles crashes each year.
Compounding the problem is the fact that most people know when to seek medical help for physical discomforts such as fever or pain but sleep problems are often overlooked or ignored. In fact, the overwhelming majority of people with sleep disorders are undiagnosed and untreated.
An attitudinal study of Malaysians’ perceptions of their health and well-being, the Philips Index, in 2011, suggested that 17 percent of Malaysians do not get enough sleep. The results showed that their perceived lack of sleep negatively impacted on how they felt about their physical and mental health.
One reason for a lack of quality sleep is OSA; a condition characterised by the repeated cessation of breathing during sleep. OSA not only negatively impacts a person’s overall quality of life and productivity, but recent research has revealed, it could also potentially lead to serious health issues, increasing the risk of diabetes, high blood pressure, heart attacks, strokes, daytime sleepiness, and other conditions. An estimated 7% of the adult population or 1.9 million people in Malaysia are affected by OSA.
So it is important for us to recognise that while sleep makes us feel better, its comfort goes way beyond just boosting our mood or banishing under-eye circles. Adequate sleep is a key part of a healthy lifestyle and can benefit our heart, weight, mind, and more.
Source: Beacon Hospital
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