The Telegraph
Monday , August 26 , 2013
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Goodbye to binge before good night

Even seven hours of sleep can’t guarantee a refreshing day if you have indulged in takeaway tandooris washed down with Patiala pegs over some TV potboiler after a graveyard shift.

Doctors said “basic sleep hygiene” such as a light dinner, no alcohol and no TV should be followed before hitting the sack to wake up refreshed the next day.

Experts said sleep depravity has become a quintessential new generation problem, wrought by long work hours, erratic work schedules, late-night parties and stressful lives.

Young professionals often complain of disturbed sleep, inadequate rest, fatigue and drowsiness through the day despite spending the recommended eight hours in bed.

“Maintaining a proper sleep hygiene is most crucial to attaining quality, undisturbed sleep for any working professional. Now this has become even more important given the odd hours at workplaces,” said Noel Wheeler, medical director, Sleep Disorders Centre of Wentworth Douglass Hospital, New Hampshire, US. He was in Calcutta to deliver a lecture at Mercy Hospital.

He said: “One out of 20 Indian suffers from sleep disorder, mostly because of stress and erratic work schedules. Just as a machine needs to be shut down gradually, going through a proper procedure, the human body should be put off to sleep following a similar procedure.”

He said sleep hygiene facilitate quality shut-eye at night and daytime alertness.

A study conducted last year by researchers at the University of Arkansas, US, and the Postgraduate Institute of Medical Education and Research (PGIMER), Chandigarh, on 350 junior resident doctors corroborated the claim that sleep hygiene is essential for those who reported excessive daytime sleepiness.

Almost 50 per cent of the volunteers, who had worked for 80 hours a week, complained of excessive daytime sleepiness. They were not following proper sleep hygiene, too.

“Sleep hygiene and number of hours slept should be considered as excessive daytime sleepiness prevention and treatment strategies,” the study recommends.

Rajat Subhra Sen, a 28-year-old senior BPO executive at Sector-V, said long hours at the workplace had affected his biological clock.

“I had severe sleep disorder for several months, eventually causing digestive problems and fatigue throughout the day,” he said.

Wheeler said the commonest disorder afflicting professionals working long shifts is “obstructive sleep apnoea”.

Sleep apnoea is an involuntary cessation or pauses in breathing during sleep.