Hypertension has been cited as Kenya’s biggest public health concern. 50% of patients admitted to hospital in the country have the disease, according to Capital FM, while 40% of all hospital deaths are as a result of hypertension. And there’s one main reason why Kenyans’ blood pressure is rising: a lack of sleep. Research has shown that even minor sleep disturbances increase the likelihood of developing hypertension. However, it’s not just hypertension that a lack of sleep can cause.
Sleep deprivation & health concerns
New guidelines from the National Sleep Foundation advise that adults aged between 18 and 64 require between 7 and 9 hours per sleep a night, while seniors need between 7 and 8 hours. Failing to obtain this much shut-eye can result in multiple health concerns, including poor mental health and the development of depression and anxiety. Statistics from the World Health Organization reveal that Kenya has the fourth highest levels of depression in Africa, and a lack of sleep could very well be behind these figures. Furthermore, you’re at greater risk of becoming obese, developing diabetes, and experiencing cardiovascular disorders when your sleep quality is poor.
The impact of poor sleep
It’s common for relationships to break down when individuals don’t get enough sleep. This is because sleep deprivation increases irritability and mood swings. As such, a lack of sleep is sure to be pushing up the country’s divorce rate, which, in recent years, has hit 80%. Another critical danger of not getting enough sleep is how it affects individuals behind the wheel of a vehicle. Studies show that driving while tired is just as bad as driving while under the influence of alcohol.
Improving your sleep quality
One of the biggest things you can do to secure a good night’s sleep is to make your bed as comfortable as possible. As a general rule, you should replace your mattress every seven to 10 years. When the time comes to invest in a new mattress, be sure to consider your personal requirements, including the firmness and support required. It’s advisable to compare mattress reviews of your preferred brands too, as this will allow you to choose the best one within your budget. In addition, supportive pillows are a must, and you should change your duvet and bedding according to the season.
Preparing for sleep
It’s also important that you prepare yourself for a good night’s sleep. This includes cutting your screen time before bed. Research shows that artificial lights on devices such as smartphones and tablets can impact the body’s circadian rhythm and result in poorer quality sleep. Furthermore, avoiding caffeine, alcohol, and nicotine before bed is essential too. Coffee consumption in Kenya has increased significantly in the past ten years, according to Saveur. Meanwhile, Kenyans are believed to be drinking high amounts of illegal, informal or counterfeit alcoholic drinks, which contain higher quantities of alcohol than normal. But by cutting these substances out of your diet, you’re sure to benefit from better sleep.
Poor quality sleep is causing Kenyans to develop a whole host of health conditions. But by taking steps to improve your sleeping environment and bedtime routine, you’ll bag more sleep and improve your health.