Health and tech: Why sleep matters in the digital age

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Published: August 1, 2019 7:02:18 AM

Snoozfit, a sleep disorder diagnostics and management firm, has developed a non-contact device to get insights into one’s daily sleep and body recovery patterns.

Ram Pazhayannur, founder of Snoozfit, with the sleep diagnostic device

EMPLOYERS could soon be getting reports on whether their employees are having a good night’s sleep. They are working with sleep specialists, counselors and experts to help employees to get their quota of sleep and regain their cognitive abilities and an improved immune system. Globally, this is already happening with companies such as Swiss Re, Deloitte, Zeiss, Takeda sending their employees to specialists to learn how to sleep. It is now catching on in India too.

Studies have shown that productivity of sleep deprived employees can affect the organisation and lead to resources not performing to their potential, unable to deliver under pressure, have low motivational levels and have chronic health issues.

“A 24×7 work life, night shifts, always on digital devices, increased disposal income and lifestyle changes are affecting people and they are sleeping less than ever before,” says Ram Pazhayannur, founder & CEO, Snoozfit, a sleep disorder diagnostics and management company. Two in five are sleep deprived because of sleep disorders, binge watching of entertainmentcontent and corporates are waking up to these employee productivity problems, says Pazhayannur.

He has been talking to employees of several organisations about giving sleep its due importance in the digital age. The impact of poor sleep ranges from weight gain, poor health, daytime sleepiness, attention issues, mood swing, anxiety, depression, body pains and dependence on sedatives, says Pazyhayannur, a biomedical engineer who set up Snoozfit to diagnose and manage sleep related issues such as insomnia, sleep apnea, snoring, shift and lifestyle related issues.

The problems for BPO employees who work in shifts is even more damaging as they are sleeping against their natural body clock. He finds back office and tech support centres of MNCs more responsive to sleeping issues of employees compared to Indian BPOs.
Pune alone has lakhs of BPO workers doing the 6 pm to 2 am and the 2 am to 10 am shifts. Snoozfit’s data on shift workers show that 85% of the people are unable to initiate or maintain sleep, 75% do not feel refreshed after sleep, 68% suffer from acidity, 66% are addicted to caffeine while 35% are addicted to cigarettes. Many of them suffer from psychological issues, hypertension, addiction to alcohol, narcotics and diabetes, the Snoozfit founder says. This leads to attrition, costing the organisation every time an employee leaves for these reasons, he adds.

“We would like to work with companies to come up with workplace and digital technology policies, to improve health and productivity of employees,” says Payzhayannur.

Soonzfit has developed a compact non-contact device that provides insights into sleep patterns instead of the complicated and expensive sleep labs that have mostly failed to take off in the country. The instrument measures sleep duration, quality, blood oxygen levels, breathing patterns and rate, heart rate, limb movements and analyses sleep. The data is then processed at a centralised centre and personalised solutions developed by sleep specialists to deal with the specific problem and help optimise sleep. It has set up centres in Pune, Mumbai, Sangli, Solapur, Delhi, Kanpur, The company is setting up a chain of such sleep diagnostic and management centres with hospitals. Around eight hospitals in Mumbai including Masina Hospital, Mumbai Hospital, Sujay Hospital, Nanavati Hospital have signed up for this.

According to Divyesh Raveshia, chairman of Sujay Hospital, sleep disorders go largely undiagnosed due to lack of diagnostics centres and access to specialists trained in sleep medicine and this prompted them to set up the sleep diagnostics and therapeutic centre.

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