In 2017, the slogan of World Sleep Day (17 March) is “Sleep Soundly, Nurture Life.” This focus is purposefully broad in meaning, giving the message, that quality of life with a sleep disorder can be improved, but we must first recognize importance of sleep for overall health.
To celebrate this year’s World Sleep Day we hosted two events at Medis. First, a media event with two medical specialists for sleep disorders, and second, and a workshop for general physicians on Treating patients with excessive daytime somnolence. At the media event, our guest speakers, assoc. prof. Leja Dolenc Grošelj, MD, PhD, from the Center for sleep disorders at the University Medical Centre in Ljubljana and assist. Barbara Gnidovec Stražišar, MD, PhD, from the Center for sleep disorders in children and adolescents at Celje General Hospital, gave us an interesting insight in sleep disorders, the importance of good quality sleep, consequences from missing sleep, and prevalence, diagnosis and treatment of sleep disorders.
Why is sleep so important? It is the essential process for our survival.
- During sleep, the body's cells regenerate and short-term memory changes into long-term.
- Sleep effects the secretion of hormones (melatonin, cortisol, growth hormone...) and significantly slows the degenerative diseases of the brain, in particular dementia.
- Sleep is associated with energy balance: during the night, we accumulate energy that we use during the day.
The consequences of sleep disorders can be very serious
According to the international classification of sleep disorders (ICSD 2014) there are 90 different disorders. Sleep disorder means that due to poor quality of night sleep our day functioning is disturbed. Unrecognized and untreated sleep disorders can lead to cardiovascular disease. Obstructive Sleep Apnea increases the risk for stroke, heart attack and sudden death in sleep. Severe excessive daytime somnolence may cause accidents in the workplace and traffic. Individuals with lack of sleep or sleep disorders are more prone to metabolic abnormalities, most often obesity and type 2 diabetes. Lack of sleep has also been associated with mental illnesses such as depression, anxiety and psychosis.
Though most sleep disorders are preventable or treatable, less than one-third of sufferers seek professional help. Therefore, World Sleep Day aims to inform the world about the importance of seeing a doctor and treating even mild sleep disorders.
For more information visit: worldsleepday.org
Photo: Urban Modic