MOH News
Dr. Bahammam: Sleep Disorder Affects Students' Academic Achievement
12 September 2013
Dr. Ahmed Salem Bahammam, the Consultant of chest diseases and sleep medicine, has affirmed that sleep disorders have a huge impact on the students' academic achievements as sleep is one of the principal components contributing to keeping the various organs of the human body working properly, and that sleep deprivation is instrumental in disrupting the body's physiology and   a lot of its vital functions.

He has further added that many researchers and education professionals hold that sleep disorders and deprivation lead to holding back academic achievement and proper performance. But, it is regrettable that the studies and researches that have tackled that topic are too few, and most of them have focused upon the university students and secondary schools' students. Still, some studies have shown that the academic achievements for the students snoring or suffering from respiratory problems during sleep are less than their healthy peers, and that the students' study performance is getting better for those injured with snoring after being treated.  


This has coincided with the beginning of the new school year, to the effect that the Ministry of Health (MOH), as part of the Educational Program "my health, my school", has hosted Dr. Ahmed Salem Bahammam, the Consultant of the chest diseases and sleep medicine; at the MOH's Information Media and Health Awareness Center, and via toll-free line: 8002494444, and the MOH's Twitter account saudimoh@ This is in order to answer the callers' questions on the importance of sleep, its disorders, and biological clock disorders, and the range of problems resulting from worry and stress of the first period of the beginning of the new school year. 


Within the same vein, he has drawn the attention to the fact that" sleep medicine is one of the known specialties in the world of medicine, yet, its importance is underestimated by those working in medicine or others; in spite of the fact that human spends a third of their life asleep. However, the majority does not know much on sleep, and it is deplorable that there is a long-held belief that sleep is stagnation in the physical and mental functions of the body that human is in need of; in order to get refreshed. Yet, scientifically-proven reality is in stark contrast. Thus, during sleep, a lot of complicated activities in relation to the brain and the body in general, take place, and not as some think.  But, on the contrary, some functions get more active during sleep time, and some diseases only occur during sleep time and disappear when a patient wakes up. These information and scientific facts are recently-known, to the effect that some medical references have not approached yet."

He pointed out that "every human has the so-called biological clock which modulates sleep time, hungry-feeling time, hormone changes, and body's temperature, and the physiological and psychological changes which traces the 24-hour biological clock cycles are known as the daily rhythm. Thus, in childhood and before reaching the adolescence stage, the biological clock makes children go to bed at 8 –9o'clock at night; however, once they get up to the puberty age and the adolescence stage, this process changes for some. Hence, they do not feel like sleeping until it gets 11 o'clock at night or later. All the more, the desire of some in staying awake nightly to study, or just staying up late with relatives and friends aggravate the problem or recurs it more."

He went on to add that " the biological clock is defined as the body's ability to turn from sleeping at specific hours, usually at night, into waking and activeness at other hours, usually in the daytime," saying that " several external factors, the most prominent of which are light and noise, control maintaining the daily rhythm modulating of the body or its biological clock." He further pointed out that "this is associated with a change in a huge number of body's functions that could be more active in the daytime than at night and increasing in sleep hormone secretion "melatonin" at night and lessening in the daytime. However, for those suffering from this disorder, things are the opposite. Further, exposing to light lessen the sleep hormone level in blood, that's to say, sleep hormone is secreted from the pineal gland in the brain and it is linked to the optic nerve; hence, exposing to intense light reduces the hormone secretion."

He concluded his statements saying that "snoring is a common disease afflicting over 30 percent of adults; it is a noisy sound released when breathing "inspiration" during sleep as a result of the airway tightness due to the soft tissue enlargement of the throat and nasal defects. And many tackle it as a topic arousing mockery, jest, and caricature images. Still, all have to realize that snoring could be one of the symptoms of a serious disease, known as obstructive sleep apnea syndrome (OSA). And in the event that a patient is injured with this disease, then there is, certainly, no reason for jest and mockery, and a patient should consult a specialized doctor to make sure of the disease diagnosis, and then treat it if need be."


 



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