We Desperately Need Sleep!
Her World Malaysia|January - February 2020
The demands urban living and work stress have changed our attitudes towards sleep and rest – they have become a luxury few think they can afford. Add to that the digital screens keeping us up at all hours of the day. It’s time we realise why sleep is crucial and how it affects almost every aspect of our lives.
Lorraine Chai

THE PRICE OF SLEEP DEPRIVATION

Sleep deprivation is so common, especially in the Asia-Pacific region that most people shrug it off. Some might even be proud of their ability to function on little sleep. AIA Group Limited conducted a research from May to July 2019 involving 5,000 respondents in China, Hong Kong, Malaysia, Singapore and Thailand and found that over half of the people surveyed (55 per cent) said they get just six hours of sleep every night. To help combat sleep deprivation, AIA launched a new initiative called #OneMoreHour with the aim of raising awareness of the health benefits of getting adequate sleep and introducing rewards to encourage people to get more sleep.

There are far too many experts postulating how much sleep we should be getting, but there’s never an exact answer to that. A laboratory study involving 60 students who observed two different sleep routines revealed that the group with fewer hours of sleep was less vigilant. In attendance at the #OneMoreHour launch event was Professor Michael Chee, one of Asia’s leading sleep experts from Duke-NUS Medical School and NUS Yong Loo Lin School of Medicine in Singapore, who shared key insights about the dangers of sleep deficit. “In Asia-Pacific, it’s common for us to spend billions on quick fixes like supplements, but the real fix is to put effort into getting better sleep,” said Professor Chee. In his opinion, as much as we know the benefits of sleep, we give it a low priority and this can be seen from the rising prevalence of obesity and diabetes, as insufficient sleep is one of the contributing factors to these diseases.

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