Divya Ramamurthi

Complicated lifestyles causing sleeping disorders Psychologists suggest meditation as an ideal way to fight stress

BANGALORE: The city must be home to a lot of disturbed people, if the sales of sleep-inducing medicines and tranquillisers are anything to go by. Pharmacists say they are selling more and more of these drugs over the past few years.

A pharmacist on Cunningham Road says that he gets at least five requests every day from persons for such drugs.

Another pharmacist, who operates a 24 hours pharmacy on Infantry Road, says he sometimes even gets people who come up to him past midnight and ask for sleeping medicines. "They ask me what medicines are commonly prescribed for such conditions and want to buy the same," he says.

All these indicate the stressful life that more and more people leading stressful life with anxiety and insomnia being just a few of the symptoms.

Neurologists in the city say they too are seeing more and more cases of persons with sleep disorders. Many of the people who have this condition belong to the software industry or call centres. "Because they have to keep to different time zones, their sleep cycles get disturbed very badly," says K. Palani, a neurologist.

Uday Murugod, consultant neurologist at Manipal Hospital, says that sleep disorders are to be expected in a city that leads such a chaotic and fast life. He says a complicated lifestyle is a big contributor to sleep disorders.

Sleep disorder may include difficulty falling or staying asleep, falling asleep at inappropriate times, excessive total sleep time or abnormal behaviours associated with sleep. Sometimes the reasons are simple enough such as too much coffee or nap in the afternoons or even too much stress at work. Other times the problem may be neurological.

Dr. Murugod says the cause for the sleep disorder has to be diagnosed before proper treatment can be given. "We need to analyse reasons for sleeplessness by process of elimination before we can diagnose the reason," he adds. The neurologist says popping sleeping pills or tranquillisers will not help too much. "It may help a person get sleep one night but not on a sustained basis."

Meditation

Doctors and psychologists say that de-stressing techniques such as meditation and physical exercise help immensely in treating sleep disorders. "Calming music and meditation eases the mind and helps people sleep better. Unfortunately people are just too busy to listen to them," says psychiatrist Bharati.

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