Begona Fernandez |
Granada (EFE).- The use of electronic devices such as mobile phones and computers until late in the day and being “hooked” on social networks has increased sleep disorders that affect a third of the population, since they stimulate the retina and they alter the secretion of melatonia, a hormone that regulates the circadian rhythm of sleep.
This was stated at the XXIX national congress of the Spanish Society of General and Family Physicians (SEMG), the neurologist Emilio Gómez, who has reported that in addition to this third of the population, another 10% of Spaniards suffer from insomnia chronic, which is when you sleep badly more than three times a week for a minimum of three months.
According to this neurologist, these sleep disorders have led to an increase in the prescription of drugs of up to 120%.
These are hypnotics, “which are the most used but also the most dangerous due to the dependency they generate.”
The sleep problems are related to the pandemic, which has been a turning point in this pathology, as reported by the SEMG spokesman and member of the Mental Health working group, Lorenzo Armenteros.
This expert has explained that before the coronavirus, sleep disorders “were not so conspicuous, and now the patient who comes to the consultation and does not report sleeping problems is rare.”
Other factors that affect the quality of sleep, in addition to the abuse of electronic devices, are the workload, little professional recognition, conflicting work situations and unemployment.
New drugs for insomnia without side effects
To alleviate the situation of chronic insomnia, the industry and medical research are working on new drugs.
Gómez has informed that, shortly, treatments for insomnia will arrive in Spain, which are already being used in the United States and which have practically no side effects.
It is, he explained, about drugs called “orexin antagonists”, hormones that regulate sleep and wakefulness, which are “very polished and quite perfect”.
This expert has specified that they are not treatments for the entire population, they are intended for patients with whom other types of therapies have not been successful and they will always be prescribed under medical supervision.
This neurologist, responsible for the sleep unit at the Ruber Juan Bravo hospital, has valued sleep hygiene, especially among adolescents, where sleeping problems have grown and now affect 40%.
The nap is convenient but not to exceed 25 minutes.
Gómez has also referred to the nap, which is natural and convenient, if it does not exceed 20 or 25 minutes.
He has commented that it is a physiological process, that at a given moment (at three or four in the afternoon) and due to certain changes in temperature, the body asks for sleep, but that “asking for sleep should not last half an hour, because we would be taking hours off night sleep.”
Contrary to what is thought, Gómez has affirmed that in Spain very few people take a nap, since continuous working hours dominate and it is impossible to attend to this physiological process.
He also recalled that Spain is at the bottom of Europe with hours of sleep with 7.2 hours a day, ahead of Italy (7.1) and with a European average of 7.6 hours.
Although he has admitted that seven hours may seem like a reasonable sleep, there are many people who sleep for those hours are not in a condition to face the day, since they are tired, irritable and with little concentration.
A survey carried out on a sample of 853 doctors, with a mostly female profile (72%) and ages between 41 and 70 years, of whom 89% are active and has also been presented at the SEMG congress. 81.4% with an intensive day.
According to this study, doctors also have sleep problems. In fact, 64.4% acknowledge that they have difficulties achieving restful sleep.