Humans generally spend 1/3 of their lives sleeping. Moreover, it is an activity considered to be just as important as following a healthy diet and exercise. On the other hand, trivia shows that humans are also the only mammal that willingly delays sleep.
True enough, getting proper zzz’s is something most of us often take for granted. A shocking worldwide statistic has ranked the Philippines as the fifth country with the worst sleepers, with individuals getting an average of only six hours and 22 minutes of sleep. Sleep deprivation in the country affects about 50 million Filipinos, making the problem a national issue.
Circadian rhythm disorders happen when there is a mismatch on the internal body clock due to the continuous disruption of sleep patterns. One of the most common disorder falling in this category is delayed sleep, which causes a person to feel tired at a later time than the usual. Individuals with this kind of disorder are the night owls, or those who feel more productive, alert, and creative late at night.
The opposite of this is advanced sleep phase disorder which is characterized by regular early bedtimes (6PM to 9PM), a habit that is very common among the elderly. In the Philippines, however, one very common sleep problem is shift work disorder caused by irregular sleeping patterns from night shifts. Common among business processing outsource (call center) employees, the disorder arises when the circadian rhythm cannot properly adjust to changing sleep patterns. Shift work disorder can often lead to problems like excessive sleepiness and insomnia.
But what makes a good sleep? According to the World Association of Sleep Medicine, there are a number of ways one can do to improve their sleeping patterns. The following are tips you can follow:
1. Refraining from using your bed for regular activities (e.g. eating, working, etc.)
2. Avoiding intake of caffeine six hours before bedtime.
3. Eating a light meal for dinner.
4. Limiting naps to not more than 45 minutes.
5. Creating a comfortable sleeping environment (using the right mattress and bedding, keeping the room dark and well-ventilated).
These names have been proactive in furthering sleep education and awareness in the country. This month, they are coming together once more for World Sleep Day, an annual event that celebrates sleep importance and tackles issues like better sleep education. Organized by the World Sleep Day Committee, the event will be held on March 16 (today) and will feature talks on better prevention and management of sleep disorders.
Sleep deprivation should be considered a major national issue that should be swiftly addressed. With proper education and the support of thought leaders and action takers in the industry, the country is taking a progressive step towards achieving proper zzz’s.