Survey finds 4 in 10 Singaporeans not getting enough sleep, but those above 55 sleep better

PHOTO: The Straits Times

SINGAPORE - A recent survey appears to confirm what many have suspected for a long time: Singaporeans are not getting enough sleep.

On Tuesday (Dec 11), international market research agency YouGov released the results of a survey which found that 44 per cent of Singaporeans are getting less than seven hours of sleep a night.

Numerous sources, including the United States Centres for Disease Control and Prevention, state that those above the age of 18 should get at least seven hours of sleep per night.

However, only 48 per cent of the 1,022 Singaporeans surveyed reported getting seven to eight hours of sleep each night.

The survey, which was conducted in November this year using YouGov's Omnibus survey tool, drew its responses from a pool of Singaporeans which reflected the nation's demographic make-up.

Six per cent of these were getting nine to 10 hours of sleep, and a lucky 1 per cent claimed to be getting more than 10 hours of sleep. Forty-one per cent said they were only getting four to six hours of sleep.

While 3 per cent of those surveyed get less than four hours of sleep a night, those drawing a lower income appeared to be more badly affected - 6 per cent of Singaporeans with a household income of less than $4,000 a month said they get less than four hours of sleep each night.

A majority of survey respondents also reported that they were unable to sleep through the night, with 77 per cent stating that they woke up at least once a night.

The 23 per cent who were able to sleep through the night without waking up were more likely than the population as a whole to describe their quality of sleep as good.

Singaporeans aged 55 and over also appeared to be sleeping better, with 45 per cent of this group describing their quality of sleep as good.

8 ways sleep can solve your problems

  • If you often suffer from monthly period cramps, try to clock in more Zs. In a study done in Georgia, it was found that a lack of sleep made period cramps worse, as less serotonin is produced when we don't sleep enough, resulting to a lower threshold for pain.
  • Here's something we can't complain about. Sleeping more can indeed help you burn calories. So don't put in hours in the gym, but hit the sack an hour or two earlier for the sake of your waistline!
  • A lack of sleep causes the emotion centre of the brain, known as the amygdala to become more sensitive, hence sleep-deprived people often react more negatively to situations.
  • Your best self will definitely arise from a well-rested you. When we are sleep-deprived, we lose focus, attention and vigilance.
  • Even with excessive amounts of vitamins, you are still likely to fall sick if you're not sleeping enough. Our bodies stop reacting to vaccinations when we suffer from a lack of sleep, similar to how we always sleep to feel better after our medication when we're feeling under the weather.
  • Beauty sleep is indeed a real thing. When we are sleep deprived, our skin will suffer from inflammation and dehydration. Increased stress hormones can also arise which worsens any inflammatory skin conditions like acne.
  • Try getting a full night's sleep and you might see a difference to how you approach the everyday stressors in your life. Even with the world weighing down on your shoulders, a well rested night could definitely make anything better.
  • When we're running on minimal sleep, anything can seem more risky and daunting to attempt. With more sleep hours clocked in, you could be more willing to try out adventurous things in your life, be it in your work or downtime.

Mr Jake Gammon, head of YouGov's Omnibus department in APAC noted that "demanding work" could be the cause of sleepless nights.

He said: "In a fast-paced metropolis like Singapore, only about half its citizens are getting enough rest. What's particularly worrying is lower-income Singaporeans are twice as likely to get less than four hours of sleep a night."

On a lighter note, the survey found that 53 per cent of Singaporeans above the age of 18 sleep with a "comfort object", which is either a stuffed toy or security blanket. Women are more likely to do so than men, with 61 per cent of the former and 44 per cent of the latter saying that they did.

Singaporeans aged 25 to 34 were also more likely than those aged 55 and above to sleep with "comfort objects", with 61 per cent of the former group and 32 per cent of the latter reporting that they did so.

However, there was no indication that those who slept with a "comfort object" got better or more sleep than those who did not.

This article was first published in The Straits Times. Permission required for reproduction.