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Sleeping for a long time does not mean that you slept well. Focus on sleep and regain your health.

Sleeping for a long time does not mean that you slept well. Focus on sleep and regain your health.

Text by Huang Huiya (Senior Occupational Therapist)

Urban people, young and old, are always busy with work, studies, and servitude, and even 48 hours a day are not enough. Many people are busy answering text messages and checking emails even before eating, riding in the car, or going to bed. The pace of life is very fast.

The price of being busy is often sacrificing sleep time or worsening sleep quality, resulting in different forms of sleep problems and sequelae.

(Hong Kong News) “Hong Kong Life Easy” was commissioned to conduct a questionnaire survey in September 2023 to understand the sleeping habits of Hong Kong people. The results showed that among the 694 successful respondents, nearly 80% felt that they “didn’t get enough sleep” and nearly 60% “slept poorly”. Sleep problems are very common.

Poor sleep affects health

What exactly is the reason for “bad sleep”? The following are some of the more common sleep problems, including:

Difficulty falling asleep: Difficulty falling asleep after going to bed, taking 30 minutes or more to fall asleep

Unable to sustain a deep sleep: sleep and wake up from time to time, unable to enter the deep sleep stage

Consciously unable to eliminate fatigue after waking up: after getting up, I feel as if I have not slept, still very tired, and often dozed off

Waking up prematurely: Waking up in the middle of the night or early in the morning, tossing and turning, having difficulty falling back to sleep until dawn

Long-term poor sleep has extensive and far-reaching effects on health. In addition to the known risks of physical immunity, metabolism and cardiovascular problems, it also poses serious health risks to cognitive and mental health, ranging from short-term concentration problems. and memory loss, lack of patience, slow reaction, emotional anxiety, irritability, etc.; in severe cases, long-term emotional problems may occur, affecting cognitive ability, academic or work performance, interpersonal relationships, etc. (see “Three Major Impacts of Poor Sleep”). Therefore, we must promote high-quality sleep and practice “sleeping” without “worrying”!

How long you need to sleep varies from person to person

Quality sleep requires not only sleeping “enough”, but also sleeping “well”. Everyone’s sleep needs are unique, and some people need a lot of sleep and some don’t. The easiest way to know whether you have slept “enough” and “well” is to pay attention to whether you are energetic when you wake up, or whether you still feel tired. If it is the latter and you feel lack of energy, dozing off, headache, dizziness, etc. after waking up or during the day, it means that you may not have slept “enough” or “well”. For the sake of long-term health, you should take it seriously!

Simple self-assessment of sleep quality

Generally speaking, people aged 18 to 64 need 7 to 9 hours of sleep, and the hours for children and the elderly are also different (see table on the left).

Of course, even if you sleep “enough”, it doesn’t necessarily mean you slept “well”. Want to know how your sleep quality is? You can self-assess through the Pittsburgh Sleep Quality Index (PSQI) launched by the American Academy of Sleep Medicine.

The Pittsburgh Sleep Quality Scale is one of the most commonly used simple examination and rating scales for sleep disorders. It mainly includes 7 questions and aspects: subjective sleep quality, time to fall asleep, total sleep hours, sleep efficiency, sleep disorders, sleep medication use, and Daytime dysfunction.

Respondents self-assessed their sleep quality based on their sleep status in the past month. The minimum is 0 points and the maximum is 3 points; the total score is 0 to 21 points. If the total test result exceeds 5 points, it means you need to pay more attention to sleep and rest; if the total test result exceeds 10 points, it is recommended to seek professional help as soon as possible to prevent the problem from worsening.

Since the formula for calculating the score is complicated, you can get a preliminary understanding of your sleep quality through the following link:

Note: This is a preliminary assessment and can only be used as a reference and in no way a substitute for professional clinical diagnosis. If necessary, professional assistance should be sought as soon as possible.

10 tips to help you get enough sleep

Most sleep problems can be significantly improved by improving sleep hygiene. Occupational therapists will use different methods to develop plans with service users to improve sleep hygiene based on the environment, living habits, mentality, etc.

The following 10 tips will help you sleep “enough” and “well”!

1. Sleep regularly

Whether on weekdays or on vacation, you should go to bed and get up at a fixed time so that your body’s biological clock has a fixed schedule.

2. Activities before going to bed

For example, take a warm bath or eat a snack to let your body know it’s time to go to bed and to put your body into a state of relaxation.

3. Clear black and white

Turn off the lights when sleeping (except for the elderly who need a small amount of night lighting) and keep the bedroom dark. It is appropriate to have more exposure to sunlight during the day and avoid long and frequent naps (less than half an hour is best).

4. Create an atmosphere

To maintain a quiet, moderate temperature and comfortable sleeping environment, you can consider improving it one by one, starting with bedding such as pillows and sheets.

5. Stay focused

In addition to going to bed and having sex, avoid doing other activities in bed, such as reviewing, working, replying to messages, etc.

6. Say goodbye to Blu-ray for now

One hour before going to bed, avoid using electronic products that emit light, such as computers, televisions, or mobile phones.

7. Neither hungry nor full

Don’t eat too much food before going to bed, and don’t go hungry.

8. Braking with static

Reduce strenuous activities 2 hours before going to bed, and it is recommended to do more physical exercise during the day.

9. Reduce irritation

Avoid caffeinated, alcoholic drinks or smoking 4 to 6 hours before bed.

10. Clear space before going to bed

Before going to bed, reduce worries about tomorrow’s exams or homework, relax your mind, and help you fall asleep.

If insomnia persists or your sleep quality does not improve for a long time, you should consult a doctor or professional as soon as possible to avoid worsening the situation and affecting your physical, mental and mental health.

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