Monday, 11 January 2016
Too little or too much?: sleep behavior of the Bangladeshi population
How many hours usually do a person (child, youths, middle-age, old and the very old) sleep in Bangladesh? Knowing this is important because too little or too much sleep has implications for health…many of the physiological and psychological processes are intimately related to ‘optimum’ hours of sleep! Studies have shown that, on an average, seven to eight hours of sleep is sufficient for adult, with a little less for the elderly people. However, it varies, by a complex interaction between genetics, environment, social determinants of health and comorbidities.
Sleep related problems remain an unrecognized public health issue affecting mortality and morbidity of the population especially in the LMICs. Too little sleep interferes with immune mechanisms of the body and make one susceptible to illness while too much sleep has been found to be associated with the risk of obesity, hypertension, diabetes, CVDs and mental health disorders. The effect of too much sleep has been found to be stronger than too little sleep!
Interesting findings came out of the study. For example, the study found that more than half of school-age children (55%) slept less than recommended while 28% of the elderly slept more. Rural populations had a four times greater chance of sleeping less than the urban people. Total sleep time was found to have an ‘U’ shaped curve with age i.e., more sleep hours at the extremes of age. There was a significant reduction in sleeping time (66% less likely) when an individual get married. Individuals in large cities are likely to sleep more than those living in the small cities. Interestingly, most people involved in occupations other than agriculture slept more, as do the unemployed and the home-makers compared to their counterparts (both 2.5 times more). The study found that the greater the level of education, the lesser the amount of sleep hours. There was no significant difference between men and women in mean sleeping hours.
Overall, the findings show that majority of the population (in different age groups) in Bangladesh tend to sleep late with consequences for acute and chronic illnesses and well-being. It’s high time that proper attention is given to this aspect and remedial measures taken, especially in case of children!
For more: Yunus FM et al. (2016). How many hours do people sleep in Bangladesh? A country-representative study. Journal of Sleep Research. DOI: 10.1111/jsr.12381.