Studies reveal that lack of sleep affects the blood sugar, reduces insulin sensitivity and causes increased pre-diabetes tendencies.
Doctors in the UAE are urging people to not neglect their biorhythmic clock, warning that constant lack of sleep can trigger early death in the long run.
Speaking to Khaleej Times, Dr Rania Zein Eldien, specialist in respiratory medicine at Burjeel Hospital, said that ensuring that you get enough sleep is just as important as important as getting a good food intake. “The lack of sleep can cause early death, because it can trigger a number of medical problems including schematic heart diseases and pre-diabetes,” Dr Eldien said.
Poor sleep is a great risk factor for heart disease, because when the brain does not get a chance to go into a deeply relaxed state, it continues to be stimulated even when the person is asleep. “Unfortunately, people don’t know how sleep deficiency can affect their lifestyle and health in the future.”
Dr Eldien pointed out that lack of sleep also affects glucose metabolism and causes neurological issues. “Studies reveal that lack of sleep affects the blood sugar, reduces insulin sensitivity and causes increased pre-diabetes tendencies.
“They also have a high risk of having their hormones affected and poor appetite regulation, leading to increased chances of weight gain and obesity.”
The no sleep epidemic
Shockingly, Dr Eldien receives at least three patients a day who suffer from lack of sleep. “They often suffer from insomnia, usually caused by a busy lifestyle and work stress.”
Dr Fazil Thaha, specialist in neurology at Universal Hospital, said that when there is a disruption in the body clock, neurological issues can arise and trigger anxiety and depression.
Lack of sleep is caused by factors ranging from common sleep disorders, triggered by other medical conditions such as asthma or neurological disorders like Parkinson’s, as well as physiological reasons, including stress and being busy, said Dr Thaha.
Dr Thaha said more than 50 per cent of patients suffering from medical problems also suffer from lack of sleep in the UAE, warning that bad sleep habits would trigger hypertension, diabetes and heart disease.
Getting good shuteye
Dr Eldien advises adults to get at least eight hours of uninterrupted sleep, four to six hours of sleep for the elderly, and a minimum of 10 hours for infants and young children. There should also be no light source in the room, and electronics – including mobile phones and laptops – should be kept well away, and in another room if possible.
“The brain will become activated and stimulated if they keep electronics nearby. Bedrooms should only be for sleeping.”
Dr Thaha also advices people on “good sleep hygiene.
“People should go to bed at a regular time, avoid eating a heavy meal or stimulating food or beverages like caffeine, nicotine and alcohol, which can inhibit sleep.”
Health over work
Mohammed Amin said he was suffering from insomnia for two years, causing him to put on 20 kgs in weight. “My sleep became irregular since I started working my current job. I worked late nights and even on weekends,” said the 32-year-old engineer.
“My insomnia really affected my life and health. I would sleep two hours a day maybe, if I was lucky.
“I was physically and mentally exhausted and starting down the long road of depression.”
Eventually, Ahmed saw a specialist who helped him regulate his sleep patterns. “I still don’t get my full eight hours of sleep, but I am sleeping much more than before. I also started exercising and putting my health first.”
“No job is worth risking your health and losing years of your life,” he added.