According to findings published in the journal Sleep, insomnia in third world countries is rising to the point where it is almost as prevalent in the developing world as it is in the West.
Researchers from Warwick Medical School at the University of Warwick have carried out the first pan-African and Asian analysis of sleep problems and disturbances, and their findings indicate that as many as 150 million adults across the developing world suffer from insomnia and related sleep problems.
They found that over 16 percent of the adult population suffer from the likes of insomnia, which is known to lead to problems of anxiety and depression. This figure is not too far off from the 20 percent believed to be suffering from sleep problems in the Western world.
To reach these conclusions, the Warwick researchers analyzed the sleep quality of over 19,000 men and 24,000 women who were at least 50 years old in eight locations across the world, notably among the rural populations in Ghana, Tanzania, South Africa, India, Bangladesh, Vietnam and Indonesia. They also looked at emerging data from urban regions in Kenya.
The findings are of particular concern because of what is known about the effects of poor sleep. Said the study's lead author, Dr Saverio Stranges:
"Our research shows the levels of sleep problems in the developing world are far higher than previously thought. This is particularly concerning as many low-income countries are facing a double burden of disease with pressure on scarce financial resources coming from infectious diseases like HIV, but also from a growing rate of chronic diseases like cardiovascular diseases and cancer."
He noted that this could represent a serious and under-acknowledged public health problem, one in which lower income populations could be especially vulnerable.
Source: Medical News Today