18 March 2022
By Mightor Hernandez
Mightor Hernandez serves as Director at PVP. He is a creative and commercial consultant, with expertise in interior design and extensive corporate experience in Manila and Singapore.
In the May 31st, 2018 edition of Forbes Magazine, Lindsey Tramuta spoke of how sleep became the ultimate luxury. Her article started with the unnerving fact that the developed world’s propensity to sleep deficiency has already become a global public health epidemic that ultimately can increase the risks for obesity, cancer, Alzheimer’s disease, diabetes, and mental disorders.
People around the world have become caught up in living busy lives and enriching themselves, at the expense of their health. Waking up too early, working nonstop day and night, and sleeping too late has become a monotonous and robotic kind of life for many people. “Our lack of sleep is a slow form of self-euthanasia,” quipped by neuroscientist and sleep researcher Dr. Matthew Walker in his book “Why We Sleep.”
The American National Sleep Foundation recommends the following hours of sleep per age group.
0-3 months old
14-17 hours recommended sleep
4-11 months old
12-15 hours recommended sleep
1-2 years old
11-14 hours recommended sleep
3-5 years old
10-13 hours recommended sleep
6-13 years old
9-11 hours recommended sleep
14-17 years old
8-10 hours recommended sleep
18-25 years old
7-9 hours recommended sleep
26-64 years old
7-9 hours recommended sleep
65 or more years old
7-8 hours recommended sleep
We have always been advised to get at least eight hours of sleep, which is one-third of our day. If I do not get my good night’s rest, I tend to be irritable, lethargic and quite slow the following day. Prolonged lack of sleep can make me less productive, my reflexes less responsive and my decision-making less rational. This is the reason why we need decent hours of sleep in order to recharge our body and mind and ensure that they function well.
Back in 2016, the Healthy Living Index Survey, observed that Filipinos ranked one of the highest rates of sleep deprivation in Asia, with 46% of us not getting enough sleep, while 32% of us sleep less than six hours.This was validated by an article dated December 12th, 2019 at The Filipino Times, which highlighted a Sleep Cycle survey [an application that monitors people’s hours of sleep] showing Filipinos only spending between six hours and 30 minutes and six hours and 45 minutes of sleep each day.
Sleep Cycle furthered that “the lack of sleep or sleep deprivation may sabotage one’s mental and physical health at risk causing short-term and long-term memory problems, mood swings, anxiety and depression, inability to focus, weight gain, and others.” In line with stress, anxiety and depression, the ongoing pandemic has certainly caused sleeplessness among many people around the world that it even has a name: “coronasomnia” or “covidsomnia.”
According to Dr. Michelle Drerup, a behavioural sleep medicine psychologist, “any type of stress is often the main trigger for insomnia, difficulty falling asleep or waking up and having an inability to return to sleep,” which can be brought about by the “impact of uncertainty and the constant barrage of information we are exposed to at this time.” She added that “we are experiencing pandemic fatigue or COVID burnout, which can negatively impact sleep…sheltering in place, home-schooling, avoiding large gatherings and public places, wearing a mask and not being able to do ‘normal’ activities has contributed to this experience.”
The American National Sleep Foundation recommended improving sleep hygiene, which includes your bedroom setting and sleep-related habits. Here are some pieces of advice that can help you sleep better. Personally, I try to do all these before I go to bed. They have certainly helped me with my sleeping habits.
Set a sleep schedule and maintain it every day, weekends included.
Relax before you go to bed. Meditation may enable you to fall asleep quickly.
Manage the ambiance within your bedroom. Consider temperature, lighting, sound, and even aroma, if it helps.
Disconnect from electronic gadgets for at least half an hour before bedtime. Take a break from the news. Stay away from distressing social media platforms.
Refrain from drinking caffeinated drinks and alcohol hours before bedtime.
Skip naptime. It can delay you getting into your sleep at night.
Avoid clock anxiety. Do not check the time when you suddenly wake up in the middle of the night. Once you become anxious of the time, then you will have a difficult time going back to sleep.
Be active during the day. Go for your cardio exercise and workout. The more physically tired you are, the easier it for you to get into sleep.
Read a good book. Tired eyes often lead to sleep.
Consider melatonin as a natural option. Better check with and get clearance from your doctor before taking this.
One lesson that the COVID pandemic has taught me is to love yourself. That includes getting enough sleep. Beauty sleep, as some say is the closest thing there is to the fountain of youth since it is when and how our skin starts to recover itself from the rigours of the day. According to Dr. Patricia Wexler, a New York dermatologist, the skin produces new collagen when we sleep and more collagen means the skin is plumper and less likely to wrinkle. I know this is easier said than done, but there is definitely no point to overthink, overanalyze, and overstress on things beyond control. Just sleep your anxieties off. The more you sleep like a log, the better your skin [fewer wrinkles and more glowing complexion] and younger your appearance [brighter eyes and filler hair] will be.
Sleep tight every night!