Sleep, as we know, should come naturally. Yet, according to the US CDC, one in three adults are not getting enough sleep. In a 2016 Statistica survey, Singaporean adults are among those who sleep the least. Then, in 2018, according to a YouGov survey, Singaporeans are sleeping between 4 and 6 hours each day. That’s hardly enough.
You would have thought that during the pandemic and the resulting lockdown, Singaporeans would get a respite and sleep better. Yes and no. While the number of hours clocked has improved somewhat, with an average of 6.8 hours, we are not necessarily sleeping better.
A recent survey conducted by Philips found that 28 percent of Singaporean adults are saying they sleep less each day. Among the respondents, 31 percent of them attributed it to stress and worry for sleeping less. And the contributing factors of their worries? Work responsibilities (58 percent) and financial challenges (56 percent). About a third of them are kept awake due to worries of the ongoing pandemic.
But we all agree that having sufficient sleep is very important to our health. For one, having sufficient rest and sleep allow the tissues in our bodies to heal. Researchers suggest that sleep may cause the cerebrospinal fluid to flush out toxins from our brains. Further, hormones released during sleep allows our bodies to heal and that will aid in tissue regeneration.
Overall, sufficient sleep allows the body to be rested and ready to take on the stresses of the next day. It regulates our blood pressure, helps reduce weight and also aids in limiting our caloric intake. It can also help us to perform better in sports activities and certainly helps to maintain our cognitive abilities. It will also boost our immune system, all the more important given the times we’re living in. All in, we can’t say enough of the good that sufficient sleep does for us.
If you’re not getting enough sleep, or you feel that your sleep quality is wanting, here are some ways you can improve the situation:
- Go to bed at the same time each night. Get up at the same time each morning. This applies for the weekends too.
- If you do take naps during the day, do so before 3 pm and not longer than 20 minutes.
- Get regular exercise but not too near bedtime.
- Avoid using electronic devices before bedtime.
- Read a book or listen to calming music to relax.
The need for sufficient sleep cannot be overemphasized. Yet, modern living and working from home has blurred the line between work and rest. We might also worry about the effects of the pandemic. All these factors can erode on the quality of our sleep. However, worrying won’t change a bad situation. Rather, getting sufficient sleep will improve our moods and our health. With improved mental wellbeing and bodily health, we can take on challenges more readily and successfully.
Further, physical activity stands out from all the other factors cited above that will aid us to sleep better. According to Charlene Gamaldo M.D., medical director at John Hopkins Center for Sleep at Howard County General Hospital, “we have solid evidence that exercise does, in fact, help you fall asleep more quickly and improves sleep quality.”
Of course, if you intend to work out in the sun, be sure to protect your eyes. Sunday Shades has a wide range of stylish, yet practical sunglasses for the active sports person. Sunday Shades offer a snug fit for the Asian profile, do not bounce, and is very lightweight. They feature UV 400 and polarizer protection for all their lenses. Check them out here!