Sleep to let your body repair

PHOTO: Sleep to let your body repair

SINGAPORE - For those who have lost sleep over work - you are not the only one.

Long hours and stress at work can keep people, fretting about incomplete projects, looming deadlines and the next day's line-up of meetings, wide awake at night.

A hectic work schedule, along with a heavy workload, were found to be the reasons behind disturbed sleep and fatigue among 18,828 working adults in a 2002 study in Sweden.

Closer to home, it was reported last December that a 24-year-old woman in Indonesia died after working for 30 hours straight and after one week's worth of late nights at the office.

Let's hope that none of us will end up in such tragic circumstances.

But it is an inevitable truth that we are simply not getting enough sleep.

One in three people here is getting too little sleep, to the extent that it affects his health, according to an editorial published in a local medical journal last year.

This is nothing to yawn about, for insufficient or poor-quality sleep can lead to obesity, diabetes and even a greater risk of getting into traffic accidents.

A study on Japanese engineers in 2005 found that overtime work was significantly associated with poor mental health indicators such as depression, anger and anxiety.

This group of people who worked overtime had slept fewer than six hours a day.

Generally, adults are advised to get about seven hours of sleep daily.

But there are people who, despite their efforts, simply have difficulties getting a good night's rest.

Sleep disorders, such as insomnia and obstructive sleep apnoea, can cause fractured or restless sleep.

For them, it would be important to arrest their problem before mishaps happen as a result of fatigue.

Labour Day fell on Thursday, an annual holiday that celebrates the contributions of workers.

It is a good time to reflect on whether your working habits are cutting into your much-needed rest time.

If so, scale back and go to bed earlier. Who knows, you might even perform better at work after a good, long snooze.

Get a copy of Mind Your Body, The Straits Times or go to for more stories.