Friday, September 6, 2019

Sleep is your Superpower

I started thinking about the relationship between Screens and Sleep when I attended sleep workshops by Active SG and brainstormed ideas for an assembly talk on Sleep and Screens for schools.
(Waskey, 2018)

Since I'm moving into the sleep domain based on the data, Nur suggested that I watch the Ted Talk on sleep: Sleep is Your Super Power by Matt Walker

Sleep is Your Super Power by Matt Walker

In this video, Matt shares about the good things sleep can do for our wellbeing and what happens when we do not get sufficient sleep. The thing I found most interesting is the global experiment he brought up, in Spring when people lose one hour of sleep, there is a 24% increase in heart attacks the next day and in Autumn when people gain an additional hour of sleep, there is a 21% reduction in heart attacks, same profile for car crashes and suicide rates.

I agree with him that sleep is a non negotiable biological necessity but most of us are pushing limits and compromising on our sleep. It is definitely an epidemic and one of the greatest global health challenge in the 21st century.

(Rader, 2018)

Based on a global report, Health Promotion Board (HPB) shares that Singapore is the 3rd most sleep-deprived of the 43 cities. Singaporeans are trading sleep for more work and/or play. The culture of working long hours and stresses of daily life have intruded upon our ability to sleep well. The constant distraction from using mobile devices and internet also aggravate our sleep hygiene. As shared by NUS University Health Centre, lifestyle-related behaviour is the major cause of insufficient sleep in the majority of Singaporeans, which is why a typical working adult or teenager will not clocked the obligatory 7 hours of sleep.

From ActiveSG questionnaire results: Bedroom is the 2nd most common place (behind commuting) where people use their mobile phones/portable devices during recreational time, making it harder to fall asleep and stay asleep, people don’t wake up feeling rested and alert.

Excessive screen time before bedtime causes people to sleep later, keeps them alert and awake, resulting in poor sleeping habits, which cause long term effects such as lower mental performance, cognitive function and processing speed. Research shows that people are not getting enough sleep, resulting in impulsivity, being more emotional, less rational and making poor decisions.

Questions for further research into sleep:
  • How can we reclaim our right to a full night of sleep?
  • How can we regulate better sleep?
  • How are we able to put away our mobile devices an hour before sleep and and not using them till we're finally sleepy then put them away?
  • Are we able to adopt better lifestyle choices and change our behaviours and mindset about getting sufficient sleep? 


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