Sleep deprivation occurs when one does not get enough sleep, or has a disturbed sleep-wake cycle (such as when travelling to different time zones or working shift hours). This may lead to physical and mental health problems as well as loss of productivity. In addition, research has shown that sleep deprivation increases craving for high-calorie foods and plays a role in the development/maintenance of obesity.
Sleep deprivation is a very common occurrence; many Malaysians are in fact sleep-deprived. The Sleep Survey 2018 by Am Life International Sdn Bhd (a sleep healthcare business) revealed that nine out of ten Malaysians do not get enough sleep. Malaysians get around 6.3 hours of sleep each night, which is below the recommended duration of 8 hours. As a result, Malaysians face problems arising from lack of sleep: 40% of respondents report experiencing headaches, 37% each have trouble concentrating or are fatigued, 33% have neck/shoulder pain and 26% experience mood swings.
Sleep deprivation affects children differently from adults. While adults tend to slow down, children tend to increase in their activity.
Symptoms of sleep deprivation in adults
Symptoms of sleep deprivation in children
Most people do manage to get some sleep every day. However, not all are able to sleep well each time. Getting quality sleep does require some effort; among the steps one could take to improve their quality of sleep include:
Oftentimes, the lack of sleep is simply due to a person’s choice to stay up doing something else rather than sleeping.
This includes eliminating source of noise (or wearing earplugs), setting the right bedroom temperature (recommended temperature is between 15-20°C) and turning off the lights.
Putting away the phone and switching off the TV or computer can help one to fall asleep quicker.
Serious sleep disorders may indicate underlying health problems and need expert intervention. Addressing the sleep disorders may help one get better quality sleep.
This is important to regulate the body clock so one could fall asleep easier.
Taking a warm bath (40-43°C) around 90 minutes before bed has been shown to improve quality of sleep.
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