Sleep Deprived? Don’t Sleep On It!
Are you getting enough sleep? There are many reasons why we are not sleeping enough. Read to find out the effects on sleep deprivation and tips on how to get that restful sleep you deserve!
Singaporeans are among the most sleep deprived people in the world –
with an average of 6.3 hours of sleep on weekdays and 6.7 hours on weekends,
according to a Philips’ 2019 sleep study1.
Sleep experts recommend getting 7 to 9 hours of sleep every night to support our body’s optimum
There are many reasons why we are not sleeping enough. Apart from daily stress and long working hours; habits such as the use of electronic devices before bed could also be a reason why it’s hard to shake off being a night-owl. Furthermore, artificial blue light emitted by electronic devices delays body’s “sleep clock” and suppresses the release of melatonin, a sleep-inducing hormone, making it harder for someone to fall asleep or stay asleep2.
Some causes of sleep deprivation may be due to sleep disorders such as sleep apnea or insomnia. If you find yourself often feeling lethargic and sleepy in the day even though you have slept the recommended 8 hours, it may be because you did not get quality sleep. In this instance, it may be prudent to consult a medical professional specializing in sleep-related disorders. As many as one in three Singaporeans suffer from sleep apnoea, with 91 per cent of them undiagnosed, according to a study published in 2016 by health professionals in Singapore3.
Having sufficient sleep is important for our cognitive function. The lack of sleep contributes to reduced attention span, alertness, concentration, judgement and problem solving. This will in turn negatively impact school and work performance.
May Cause Weight Gain
Research has shown that the lack of sleep causes feelings of hunger and stimulates cravings for fatty comfort food. It reduces leptin – a hormone that suppresses appetite and encourages the body to expend energy, while elevating ghrelin – a hormone that stimulates hunger. Staying up late could also mean consumption of more calories at night, leading to weight gain.
Ever look at yourself in the mirror after consecutive nights of not having enough sleep? Tired and dull skin may well be what you’ll notice. Sleep loss causes the body to under-produce the human growth hormone (HGH), which helps to repair and refresh skin cells, muscles and bones. Sleep deprivation also interferes with collagen production, and can lead to dull, aging skin with the appearance of dark circles and fine lines.
May Lead to Danger
Lethargy and sleepiness in the day can slow down your reaction time. This poses significant risk when you are working or driving on the road.
A person may be more irritable, moody and short tempered due to the lack of sleep. You may also find yourself having poorer control on managing stress. According to the National Sleep Foundation, a survey found that sleep-deprived people were also less likely (than those who sleep well) to exercise, eat healthily, have sex and engage in other leisure activities because of sleepiness4.
Relax Before Bedtime
Try and schedule a time to sleep daily, and declutter your mind by settling work or other stressful tasks early, and start winding down at night before bed. You could find relaxing and simple bedtime routines, such as reading a book or listening to soothing music to help unwind. The use of aromatherapy can also help with relaxation.
Limit Activities in Bed
If possible, tune out the telly and the use of your phone before you get into bed. The blue light emitted from these electronic devices interferes with how fast you are able to fall asleep and negatively affects the quality of your sleep too. It is recommended to limit the use of electronic devices 1 to 2 hours before bedtime.
Keep Your Sleep Area Conducive
Your bedroom during bedtime should be dark, quiet and well-ventilated. The recommended ideal temperature for sleeping is about 22 degrees celsius5, but it also depends on personal preferences on how cool you want your room to be. If you’re sleeping with a partner who snores, try using ear plugs, or sleep in different rooms.
Eat Properly and Avoid Stimulants
Other than eating healthily, avoid going to bed hungry or too full. Stimulants such as caffeine, alcohol and cigarettes can also hinder sleep quality. If you often find yourself waking up in the middle of the night to urinate, avoid drinking too much water before your bedtime.
Exercise During The Day
Exercising in the day helps keep your body alert and also releases endorphins that help you feel good and focus better. It also helps to regulate your energy and expend excess energies, so you tend to fall asleep easier at night. Ever noticed how children seem to sleep more soundly after swimming or a good length play session?
Sleep Help with Supplements
Try getting some help with sleep supplements! Melatonin , a natural “sleep” hormone, helps regulate your rest cycle. Improve your sleep quality with GNC PN Tri-Sleep™ , a non-habit forming supplement with Triple-Layer Sleep Technology that promotes relaxation and calms brain activity for better sleep quality.
1Study finds Singaporeans are among the world’s worst sleepers:
2Why Electronics may stimulate you before bed: https://www.sleepfoundation.org/articles/why-electronics-may-stimulate-you-bed
3One in three Singaporeans suffer from sleep apnea: https://sg.news.yahoo.com/singaporeans-among-worlds-worst-sleepers-stress-cited-key-reason-survey-111852927.html
4What lack of sleep does to your mind: https://www.webmd.com/sleep-disorders/features/emotions-cognitive#3
5What’s the best temperature for sleep: https://www.sleepadvisor.org/best-temperature-for-sleep/