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Why Singaporeans Should Sleep Early And Why They Just Can’t

Why Singaporeans Should Sleep Early And Why They Just Can’t

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There’s no denying that life in Singapore has evolved to be something fast-paced and dynamic. There are so many things to do here on this sunny island, sometimes even during the wee hours of the night.

Unfortunately, many Singaporeans are becoming drawn like flies to the alluring glow of the night-owl lifestyle.

In a recent data study by Jawbone – makers of the fitness and health monitoring wrist gadget – Singaporeans have become the one of the world’s most sleep deprived people, with an average of 6 hours and 32 minutes of sleep a day. This is almost on par with other more commonly known sleep-deficient countries such as Japan and Korea.

 

What’s wrong with staying up all night?

There are many disadvantages of not having enough sleep, and despite this knowledge having been around for several years, many are turning a blind eye to the consequences.

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A lack of sleep poses an increased risk of weariness, diminished mental capabilities and focus. This is because fewer hours of sleep leads to the brain having lesser time to recharge.

The body also suffers the brunt of not enough shut eye and could face a higher risk of chronic diseases such as heart disease, higher blood sugar, depression and possible hormonal imbalance.

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Young children and teenagers are most at risk when they do not get the minimally required hours of sleep per night. Their mental and physical development might suffer, but most evidently, students who go without sleep are less likely to perform as well in the long run as compared to their well-slept peers.

These findings were part of a study done by the Singapore General Hospital Sleep Disorder Unit in 2009. These findings were further reinforced by a similar undergraduate survey conducted by students from Nanyang Technological University, who collected data from a pool of around 300 respondents in 2014.

Tay Danzel, 10 trying to concentrate on his homework. More than a third of lower primary school pupils are not getting enough sleep, but only 8 per cent of parents recognise that their child may have sleep problems. -- ST PHOTO: CHEW SENG KIM
Tay Danzel, 10 trying to concentrate on his homework. More than a third of lower primary school pupils are not getting enough sleep, but only 8 per cent of parents recognise that their child may have sleep problems. — ST PHOTO: CHEW SENG KIM

It goes without saying then that getting enough hours of sleep can bring about a host of benefits for your own body’s healing, recuperation and growth. When coupled with a healthy diet and a physically active lifestyle, sleep can do wonders of our bodies and minds.

This is probably not the first time you’ve heard of advice on sleep, but good health is better than wealth and wealth is nothing without good health.

And that’s the best reason to start catching up on your beauty sleep right away!

 

3 Small Steps to Help You Get Enough Sleep Right Now

What happens when you find that you just can’t get enough hours of sleep on a day to day basis?

Short of seeing a sleep doctor, here are some small tweaks in lifestyle to consider:

  1. Be disciplined in scheduling the right hours of sleep in your daily routine.

If you have to wake up at 5 a.m., then make sure that you sleep by 10 p.m. to get the minimum of 7 hours of sleep. When it’s time to sleep, it’s time to sleep. Put aside everything else and tuck in. Keep reinforcing this habit daily and over time, your body will adopt the routine readily.

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  1. Eliminate the use of any stimulants during the night.

Ensure that you are not too full or hungry before you go to bed, as this will definitely cause some disturbances in your sleep. Do not exercise for at least 3 hours before bed, and do not smoke or consume alcohol/caffeine as well. If you need coffee, take it in the morning, not at night!

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  1. Make your sleep area sleep-conducive.

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Keeping your sleep environment quiet, peaceful and devoid of any bright lights will greatly help in lulling you to sleep more easily. You could consider using other sleep-friendly elements such as aromatherapy, air-conditioning (or a silent fan), and even using small aids such as eye masks or ear plugs.

Lights out
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But Why Can’t We Sleep Early? (Written by Elaine)

Personally, I find it difficult to sleep early sometimes. For those without sleep disorders such as sleep apnea or insomnia, even with the above tips, cultivating a habit of having sufficient sleep isn’t as easy as it sounds, especially for Singaporeans. In the face of a hectic busy lifestyle, sleep seems like the easiest thing for us to give up. We rather sleep an hour or two less, instead of not completing our tasks and having to face the wrath of our angry superiors.

Is there no way around this issue then, for Singaporeans?

It ultimately boils down to a matter of self-discipline.

We can keep telling ourselves we have too many things to do and no time. But for many of us, we currently plan our activities in ways that we very well know would cause us to compromise on our sleep.

Instead of finishing a task in 2 hours, we take twice the amount of time – because we think that we can afford to be a little more laid back and our sleep can be sacrificed. Even if, at times, we have available free time on our hands, instead of sleeping early, we will find something to do. We yield to our temptations and likes, find something to read or do, despite knowing very well that we’d struggle through the next day half-awake.

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We start small – but one or two late nights eventually snowball into an unhealthy sleeping habit of multiple late nights.

The crux of the issue is is simply because: many of us don’t actually believe that insufficient sleep is that bad for us. We’ve heard about it, but we don’t believe it. If we believed the scientific facts and warnings, we would do things differently. We wouldn’t sacrifice our sleep.

The only way is an internal motivation to sleep early and lead a healthy lifestyle, driven by a real understanding of what a lack of sleep does to our bodies.

Today’s blog post is a personal reminder for me as well. Continue to keep trying, start with small steps and persist.

 

Any comments? Leave them below!

 


 

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