Lack of sleep is already a public health problem in the community

No one doubts the importance of diet or physical exercise for health. But the dream continues to be great forgotten. The rhythms of life force society to prolong the hours of activity more and more, sacrificing time for rest. As a result, the incidence of sleep problems is increasing, especially since the emergence of sleep disorders. Pandemic covid. This is how sleep medicine experts warn that they classify the condition as a “public health problem.”

“The interruption of routines and habits by confinement has resulted in many people no longer having acceptable sleep. “We now find ourselves in consultations with an increase in referral requests to our units,” says Levante-EMV Javier Puertas, secretary of the Spanish Federation of Sleep Medicine Societies (Fesmes) and head of the Neurophysiology Service and Sleep Unit. Hospital Universitario de la Ribera.

The need to provide resources to healthcare professionals to treat these pathologies was re-discussed after the Health Commission presented an Unlawful Recommendation (PNL) to Congress this Wednesday in which they called for “to develop the educational content necessary for care.” this health issue”, “Consider the update of the Clinical Practice Guideline” and “promote healthy sleep habits and physical activity”.

Fesmes data estimates that more than four million people in Spain suffer from some chronic and serious sleep disorder, with more than 30% of the population waking up with a feeling of restlessness. It’s a figure that even Puertas considers “cautious” given the future effects of overweight and obesity, as well as stress and economic uncertainty. “Failure to address these issues will have significant public health consequences,” he argues.

official recognition

To cope with the increase in patients, the Federation is calling for the creation of a Special Education Area in line with other European countries, such as Germany, France or Portugal, where sleep medicine is considered an official subspecialty. Among other reasons, Puertas says, the pandemic highlights the growing line that sleeping pills, particularly hypnotics (benzodiazepines) have, experts warn. A fact confirmed by the Most Glorious College of Pharmacists (Micof).

“The use of such drugs is increasing for both insomnia and anxiety and in many cases becomes chronic over time, which is not recommended,” says Álvaro Peláez Ferrando, member of Micof Professional Services. The expert explains that this is a drug that has a “very cheap” cost and whose effect is “quickly noticeable.” That’s why they “suffer from overprescription.”

Moreover, its consumption is closely linked to “in some ways our lifestyle habits and not-so-healthy schedules, such as being outside of our Greenwich meridian and being a chronically sleepless society,” shares Gonzalo Pin, head of the Pediatric Service. and Quirónsalud València Sleep Unit coordinator. He also explains that insomnia is often treated from a pharmacological perspective, leaving behind other dimensions such as biological, ecological, psychological or sociological. “Our goal is to comprehensively treat these problems to prevent inappropriate medication use,” he emphasizes. In this sense, Peláez proposes to promote a synergy between community pharmacy and the rest of the relevant health professions to monitor possible abuse of sleeping pills. And for that you need resources. However, Puertas notes that waiting lists in Sleep Units run for months. In this context, Pin points out that there is “less” and that it is necessary to “make more available”. “Sleep is an interdisciplinary field of health with different specialties. This requires coordination,” he said.

As reflected in NLP, experts are committed to improving the education of the general population on this subject. “We live in a society that says sleep is about losing opportunities. Good rest improves public health and enables us to have a better quality of life on an individual level,” concludes Pin.

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