How often do you reach out for your phone at night to check pings, mails and messages? With technology at your fingertips, do you think you really sleep well?

A survey conducted by The Nielsen of over 5,600 persons across 25 cities has confirmed that 93 per cent of Indians suffer from sleep deprivation; 11 per cent actually fall asleep at work and 87 per cent agree that lack of sleep is taking a toll on their health.

Yet, not many seem to be aware of the health hazards posed by sleep disorders.

“Sleep disorders represent a significant number in India, yet, it is an overlooked health problem,” says R. M. P. L. Ramanathan, Head of the Department of Pulmonology at PSG Hospitals in Coimbatore.

According to Dr Ramanathan, Tamil Nadu has, in the past two-three years, registered a steep rise in the number of Sleep Apnea (pauses in breathing or shallow breathing while sleeping).

“Breathing is not continuous, as a result of which the flow of oxygen to the brain is reduced,” he explained.

Highlighting the symptoms of sleep apnea, he said “some of the most common signs are loud and chronic snoring, frequent urination at night, morning headaches, inability to concentrate, feeling irritable, depressed or having mood swings.

“Do not ignore such symptoms. It is critical that we start recognising the severity of the problem, especially because sleep apnea can put the individual at much graver health problems such as heart disease. This is only one of the various sleep disorders,” he said, adding “obese individuals and ones with stressful jobs with erratic hours are more prone to sleep disorders.”

Philips India has given a wake-up call on this issue.

Stating that the consequences of not sleeping enough have been well documented, Bidur Dhaul, Senior Director, Home Health Care, Philips India, said the company has been working towards raising awareness of sleep-related disorders and providing sleep-related solutions.

Philips has, as part of this drive, assisted many hospitals and clinics in the State by establishing 30 sleep labs. “'Eight of these are in Coimbatore. We have assisted hospitals establish over 200 sleep labs in the country till date,” he said.

These labs, according to Dhaul, help physicians diagnose sleep disorders more accurately.