Lack of sleep leads to sudden death – Experts

Channels Television  
Updated March 28, 2012

Health experts have warned that loss of sleeping hours, untreated sleep disorders which include snoring and sleepwalking can result to hypertension, mental challenges and worst of all, sudden death.

An Associate Professor and Consultant Neurologist at the College of Medicine, Lagos University Teaching Hospital,Njideka Okubadejo, who spoke at a forum tagged ‘Breathe Easily, Sleep Well,’ in Lagos, stated that research has shown that 10 per cent of the world’s population suffers from one or more sleeping disorders.

According to Dr. Okubadejo, adults that fall into the category of not breathing well at night, snoring, sleeping late or not getting much sleep, are liable to suffer breathing problems, which results in cognitive and mental challenges during the day.

She noted that children who sleep late, snore and do not get enough sleep would experience disorders including sleepwalking and talking which would result in behavioral, cognitive and urinary problems.

“We have discovered that many breathing disorders that affect the brain occur during sleep, …and this affects many Nigerians…People who suffer this would be sleepy during the day, they cannot solve problems. Children who do not sleep long enough, snore or have breathing problems at night would be hyperactive in the day; they cannot interact well with their peers and may likely bed-wet.” she said.

The experts identified obesity, poor sleeping hours, alcohol consumption, smoking and the presence of adenoids, tonsils and allergens as factors that predispose people to sleep disorders.

There is no doubt that most adults are not getting enough sleep as they should these days due to the demands of the 21st century but recent developments have shown that children also lack enough sleep.
“It used to be adults that were not getting enough sleep, now children are not sleeping at all. Parents want to drive children the way society drives them and schools are helping them with after school hour’s programmes that would engage them till their parents have time for them” Dr. Okubadejo said, blaming highly-tasking academic schedule which schools and parents have fashioned out for children as reasons why children do not have enough time to sleep nowadays.
The Consultant, Ear and Throat Surgeon at the Surgery Department of LUTH, Dr. Chinyere Asoegwu, who also spoke at the forum identified snoring as the biggest sleeping disorder in the country and urged parents to treat sleepwalking, talking and hallucination in their children and desist from associating such disorders with myths or social beliefs.

“Sleeping disorder is a leading cause of sudden death during sleep, especially in infants and elderly people…No sleep disorder is mild. A popular musician once died because of addiction to sleeping pills. Let us create time to sleep now, so you will not have to use drugs to put you to sleep when you are in your 50’s.” She warned.