Are you homeless and facing numerous challenges? A new French study shows that homeless people are likely to suffer from insomnia, fatigue and lack of sleep.
Once you are away from home there are countless challenges that you face, the biggest problem comes at night when you don't get proper sleep. New research has found that lack of sleep could be a major reason why so many homeless people struggle to get their lives on track.
To stay healthy it is very much necessary to get enough and peaceful sleep as previous studies have showed that not getting enough sleep with high blood pressure, heart disease, obesity, diabetes, depression, anxiety, lowered immune function and higher consumption of alcohol.
“Sleep is important for good health and necessary to the ability to work and successfully perform daily activities,” a team of French researchers write in the new issue of JAMA. “Improving the quality and duration of sleep in the homeless may, therefore, improve alertness, health, and the ability to face daily tasks.”
Researchers from Paris Descartes University in France analysed responses from 3,453 people who met the definition of homeless in French cities; most of the participants were men and had an average age of almost 40. They were living on the street, in short-term shelters, small social services paid hotels and other facilities for homeless people with children.
Sleep is part of good health, but the homeless often have no access to safe and warm beds at night. A questionnaire was used to ask about total sleep time a night and over the past 24 hours. Responses from the homeless were compared to individuals in the general population who participated in a large surveyof the French adult population.
The homeless reported shorter total sleep (6 hours 31 minutes vs 7 hours 9 minutes). Among the homeless, eight per cent reported less than four hours of total sleep over the past 24 hours compared with three per cent of the general population, according to the results. Homeless women also were twice as likely as men to report that they slept less than four hours and insomnia was reported by 41 per cent of the homeless compared with 19 per cent of the comparison group.
Also, 33 per cent of the homeless reported day time fatigue compared with 15 per cent of the general population. Among the homeless, 25 per cent also reported regularly taking a drug to help them sleep compared with 15 per cent of the control group, the results suggest. "We believe that improving sleep deserves more attention in this vulnerable group," the researchers said.
"We strongly support strategies other than hypnotic agents to improve sleep in the homeless, including more careful control of noise, lighting, heating and airconditioning at night," they said. "Facilities could provide residents with sleep aids, such as earplugs, eye sleep masks and pillows.
Screens between beds could offer some sense of privacy, even in collective dormitories, and addressing issues of personal security should promote better sleep," they added.
The study was published the journal JAMA Internal Medicine.
(With PTI Inputs)