The Global Sleeplessness Pandemic
A recent WHO-funded study published in the journal Sleep has found that sleeplessness is common in the developing world, just as it already is here in the West. The study, a survey of eight different countries across Africa and Asia, turned up some startling results, including the fact that Bangladesh pretty much leads the known world in insomnia (43.9% women, 23.6% of men), while Indonesians sleep uncommonly well (4.6% of women, 3.9% of men).
Missing from these data is an in-depth look at the etiology behind the issue; possible symptoms of sleeplessness include stress, anxiety, depression and illness, as well as anatomical malformations such as a deviated septum. Here’s one article:
[Researchers] examined potential links between sleep problems and social demographics, quality of life, physical health and psychiatric conditions.
The strongest link was found between psychiatric conditions like depression and anxiety and sleep problems, mirroring trends seen in the developed world.
In my Los Angeles sinus practice, I see a number of patients whose sleeplessness is more clearly attributable to medical problems such as snoring and obstructive sleep apnea. One of the best ways to address issues like these is through a safe surgical procedure known as a septoplasty, although plenty of solutions are available for whatever maybe keeping you up.
This study offers us a fascinating global perspective on how humans sleep around the globe, and a nice reminder that, on any given night, roughly 20% of the world is lying awake with you.