A group of doctors expressed concern in a report that indicated Filipinos are one of the worst sleepers in the world, with individuals getting only an average of only six hours and 22 minutes of sleep and affecting about 50 million Filipinos.
In a recent media forum, Dr. Keith Romeo Aguilera, vice president of Philippine Society of Sleep Medicine Inc. (PSSM), said sleep deprivation has become a major concern in the country, prompting major organizations to solve the problem. For instance, the PSSM has been conducting series of campaigns to inform the people of the benefits of sleeping properly.
“Sleeping disorder is prevalent among the country’s shift workers, such as security guards, nurses, firemen and the crews in the productions and television industry. Before the advent of the information technology-business process management [IT-BPM] industry, some Filipinos are already facing a problem in their sleep,” he explained to the media.
Ideally, Aguilera said an adult should spend seven to eight hours of sleep everyday to properly recharge their body. He added an individual who gets the right number of sleep will get a number of the right benefits, such as improved memory function, stronger immune system, better concentration and weight loss.
Aguilera warned that lack of sleep can lead to a circadian rhythm disorder. It refers to a person’s internal body clock that regulates the 24-hour cycle of biological processes.
He noted the digital age has also changed the sleeping patterns of Filipinos, especially the millennials.
Aguilera said millennials want to be awake most of the time as they want to get updates on the latest trends and happenings on social media. “You can add their yearning for self-gratification as a major reason sleeping late has become a bad habit that is hard to break,” he pointed out.
Dr. Agnes Remulla, president of the PSSM, and sleep doctor, eyes, nose and throat at the Asian Medical Hospital, said globalization has made a big impact on the sleeping patterns of the majority of Filipinos. “With the world now having a 24/7 mode because of the rapid advancements in technology, Filipinos, especially the millennials, have developed changes in their sleeping patterns” she said.
“The advent of social media has also aggravated the sleeping habits of Filipinos, especially the millennials,” she added.
She stressed that the strong adherence of Filipinos to Western values and lifestyle also contributes to the development of bad sleeping habits of Filipinos.
Dr. Sheila Monzon, also a sleep doctor and a board member of PSSM, said developing the right sleeping habits can be learned at a young age. Although it is not familiar to the typical Filipino family, Monzon said an American family allots a room for a child even during his infant years. She added Americans want their children to develop independence at an early age by training them to sleep early with minimal intervention from the parent.
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:
- Refraining from using your bed for regular activities (e.g., eating, working, etc.)
- Avoiding intake of caffeine six hours before bedtime.
- Eating a light meal for dinner.
- Limiting naps to not more than 45 minutes.
- Creating a comfortable sleeping environment (using the right mattress and bedding, keeping the room dark and well-ventilated).
With sleep deprivation being a real concern in the country, several big names in the industry have jumped into action to help solve the problem. Among the leaders in the pack are the PSSM—composed of physicians and sleep doctors, and the World Sleep Society, an association of sleep specialists focused on advancing sleep health worldwide by encouraging education and promoting sleep-focused research. Partnering with them is Uratex, The Sleep Specialist, the leading manufacturer of innovative sleep solutions. The company has been focused in creating quality sleep innovations like specialized mattresses and pillows that can help improve an individual’s rest.
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 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 toward achieving proper zzzs.
On his part, Uratex Sales Director Dindo Medina said Filipino consumers need to develop more awareness on the importance of choosing the right bed to get the proper sleep. He said the company has been in the forefront of developing innovative solutions to help individuals achieve complete rest.