Sleep disorders are more common than they were thought to be. A third of those who go for treatment may have sleep disorders that must be addressed.

While for lifestyle disorders like diabetes or other ailments, a specific form of treatment may be advised, for those with irregular sleep cycles doctors suggest modification of their lifestyle.

One of the reasons for poor sleep is excessive snoring. Some people not only snore but also suffer from poor breathing during sleep.

Sudden snorts and long pauses in breathing during sleep could be due to Obstructive Sleep Apnea (OSA). Such persons wake up tired and feel fatigued even after six to seven hours of sleep.

According to N. Ramakrishnan, director of Nithra Institute of Sleep Sciences, on average usually six to eight per cent of the population in India has OSA.

“A study in north India found that eight to night per cent of people suffer from the problem,” he said. The institute, which has been working with M.V. Hospital for Diabetes, Royapuram, has found that among diabetics, even those who are not obese exhibit a higher incidence of sleep apnea.

Not all sleep disorders can be treated with medication, said chest physician R. Narasimhan.

“No tablet can cure sleep apnea. However, equipment that maintains continuous airway pressure such as a CPAP machine allows a patient to enjoy good sleep. With greater awareness that snoring is not a natural phenomenon, more people are opting for them,” he said.

“It helps the patient to breathe easily and he does not experience fatigue during the day. However, the therapy must be continued every night. Discontinuing it would mean a return of the problem. You must remember that if you do not use the machine one night then the next day you will feel fatigued because of your condition,” he said.

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