28 July, 2021

The Lost Sheep

The colour of your collar doesn't matter when it comes to sharing the debt burden of sleep

The Lost Sheep
Move over, heart disease and diabetes. Wake up to a stealthy new lifestyle killer—and the best-kept secret in public health. Doctors estimate that as much as one-third of India’s adult population is at risk from faulty judgement and poor concentration at work, at home and behind the wheel. And all because they don’t sleep properly.

Insomnia is the most well-known problem, but others, like obstructive sleep apnoea (OSA) and narcolepsy, which too can be life-threatening, are coming to light, thanks to a new breed of clinicians who practice sleep medicine. The good news is that most sleep disorders are entirely treatable. The bad news: most of us, including doctors, are unaware such problems even exist.

It’s chilling to think of the impact of sleep deprivation on people in whose hands we routinely place our lives—pilots, doctors, air traffic controllers, drivers or policemen. In fact, industrial catastrophes like Bhopal and Chernobyl have happened because of errors on part of their sleep-deprived staff.

Sleep disorders also hurt their victims personally and...

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