World Sleep Day: we sleep 30% of the time we live, but we don’t value it enough

Sleep is the time when we recover all the physical and mental energy we use during the day. However, we don’t get enough sleep, nor do we give it the importance it deserves. But the truth is that sleep influences our quality of life and the development of other pathologies. Today, on World Sleep Day, we have the collaboration of Dr. Eduard Estivill, member of Top Doctors, eminence in the study and treatment of sleep disorders and pathologies.

Why is sleep so important, and why is it so restorative?

Sleep is a workshop for repairing all the physical and mental energy we use during the day. Sleep is the most important function we perform throughout our lives. That is why we sleep 30% of the time we live. If we reach the age of 90 we will have slept 30 years of our life. We sleep 30 years to be able to stay awake for 60 years. It is the most fundamental activity that human beings do throughout their lives.

The quality of sleep and the importance of sleep are underestimated.

The quality of sleep and, above all, the need to sleep, are still underestimated today. That is to say, there is still not enough awareness that sleep is the most important thing we do throughout our lives. A person can go for three weeks without eating or drinking, but can only go for seven days without sleep, which means that it is the most important thing we do during our time on this earth.

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More and more, and thanks to the media, the ideas of the need for sleep are becoming more widespread, but there are still groups, such as teenagers, for example, who underestimate sleep.

Consequences of poor sleep: repercussions at all levels of life

When a person sleeps badly, the consequences are felt the next day: irritability, moodiness, loss of concentration… This results in a bad day and a poorer quality of life. But this is only the intellectual or psychological part. There are also physical repercussions. The person who sleeps badly regenerates the skin worse, has dark circles under the eyes, but there are also alterations in the immune system, in the metabolic system or in the cardiovascular system. In other words, a person who sleeps poorly has consequences at all levels of life.

The percentage of sleep disorders in Spain is very similar to the rest of the world: 30% of the population suffers at some point in their lives from insomnia, and 10-20% may suffer from snoring and sleep apnea. Other disturbances occur in children, where 30% also suffer from childhood insomnia due to incorrect habits.

How can we detect if we suffer from a sleep disorder?

We can detect if we suffer from a sleep disorder simply by observing how we feel during the day. The best way to know if we have slept well and if the sleep has been restful is to assess our quality of life during the day. If we arrive at the end of the day in a good mood, without sleepiness, it means that we have slept well. The same is true for children. They are irritable and in a bad mood when they sleep little or if they have an unrefreshing sleep.

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How to treat sleep disorders

Sleep disorders should always be treated in a Sleep Unit. The first step is to consult with the family doctor, who will guide us to which specialist we need to go to. Normally in the sleep units there are specialists who can treat all kinds of problems: people who snore, those who do apneas, others who have insomnia or other pathologies.

The same applies to children. There are situations where we know that pathologies can only be treated with an appropriate specialist and, above all, by performing complementary tests, such as sleep studies, which will indicate the intensity of the sleep disturbance and thus be able to make an appropriate treatment.