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Published: Saturday March 22, 2014 MYT 12:00:00 AM
Updated: Saturday March 22, 2014 MYT 8:46:08 AM

Wake-up call over sleep apnea

Dying to sleep: Lack of sleep could lead to health problems and even death.

Dying to sleep: Lack of sleep could lead to health problems and even death.

KUALA LUMPUR: About 10% of Malaysians have a sleeping disorder called Obstructive Sleep Apnea (OSA) and many are wrongly turning to pills to get some shut-eye.

This was highlighted in the second Sleep 2014 Conference yesterday.

Consultant pyschiatrist Dr Muhammad Muhsin Ahmad Zahari voiced his worry that using sleeping pills as the primary solution to get some sleep would lead to addiction.

“One should seek the root of the problem instead,” said Dr Muhammad Muhsin, also the Sleep Disorder Society Malaysia (SDSM) president.

He advised people to avoid watching television, using smartphones, exercising, taking heavy meals and consuming alcohol and caffeine four hours before sleep. Dr Muhammad Muhsin said symptoms of OSA included snoring and frequent awakening during sleep.

Lack of sleep could be a factor contributing to heart problems, hypertension, weakened immune system and, possibly, death during sleep, he added.

Dr Muhammad Muhsin said Malaysians were still taking for granted the importance of sleep.

He cited the habit of driving in the wee hours as an example.

“In developed countries, citizens are not encouraged to drive from 2am to 4am. There will be no bus service in those hours. However, people are still driving during that time in our country.

“During that period, your body is preparing to sleep and to do something like driving is going against it. Your cognition and response will be slower. Your wakefulness will not last as long as usual.

“Malaysians should change this culture of not taking risks seriously,” he said.

Guest of honour of the conference Deputy Health Minister Datuk Seri Dr Hilmi Yahaya, in his speech, said OSA is strongly associated with obesity.

He added that Malaysia has the highest obesity rate among South-East Asian countries, with 2.46 million adults – 15.1% of the adult population – being obese.

Related story:

Over 30% of bus drivers in test group have sleep disorders

Tags / Keywords: Health, sleep, health


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