We all want to sleep better lest we get cranky or sleepy at a time when we need to be on point on things we do. All we think is when we have a good night’s sleep, we can go about our daily routine without problems. But unknown to many, it is a very important part of our lifestyle. Let’s learn more about sleep, shall we?
First, being able to sleep better, is not just getting the rest that we deserve. The benefits includes improved memory function, better concentration, and an improved immune system. Although we think it’s enough to have 4-5 hours of sleep everyday (I sure think so), that shouldn’t be the case.
In celebration of the World Sleep Day, I attended a session where we learned about sleep from the Sleep Experts – Dr. Agnes Remulla, Dr. Sheila Monzon, and Dr. Keith Romeo Aguilera — all sleep doctors and members of The Philippine Society of Sleep Medicine (PSSM). The shared their knowledge about sleep, along with some tips to sleep better.
Dr. Keith Romeo Aguilera tackled shift work disorder, a very common sleep disorder caused by irregular sleeping patterns from the night shifts. Employees from the BPOs, including call centers, suffer from this and this is one of the things that I wanted to clarify when I was invited to the event. I used to work in the call center industry for about 10 years.
At some point there were a buzz that working at night is unhealthy and can cause death. And some of my colleagues are reacting to it, wanting to transfer to the day shift. In all honesty, I hated that news because in the first place, even before the BPO was established in the country, I’m already working on shifts. I also have friends working in the hospital as nurses, and they never discussed such things. So why suddenly this buzz is going around?
As Dr. Aguilera pointed out, shift work disorder existed in the Philippines even before BPO employees started working on shifts. There were doctors, nurses, medical technologists, and even hospital staff who works on shifts. Those from the hospitality industry also report at night.
If you work on shifts and are having difficulty sleeping, there are things that can be done to help you sleep better. Apparently, the bright sun sends a signal to our mind that makes us awake even if we don’t have sleep. You can wear sunglasses when you’re out after work to counter the effect of the daylight.
At home, it would be helpful if the surroundings are darker. A thick curtain should do the trick. And of course, your family will be of help if they give you some peace and quiet. You might end up getting up after a few hours, and that’s fine. Just make sure to go back to bed to catch more sleep.
Dr. Agnes Remulla talked about jet lag and how to manage this sleep problem. When traveling overseas, jet lag is experienced because our body does not adjust to the time zone of our destination. It simply thinks that you’re still in the same place, hence you’re having difficulty sleeping.
To manage this problem, you can start adjusting your routine several days before your actual flight. You start adjusting your time eating, sleeping, waking up, and doing other stuff to the time closer to your destination. That way your body won’t find it hard adjusting to the time zone when you touch down and then be able to sleep better when it’s time to hit the sack.
Meanwhile, I learned that there’s a recommended hours of sleep time depending on our age. Dr. Sheila Monzon shared an infographics about this. She stated further that toddlers shouldn’t be sleeping for a long time in the afternoon. Or else, they will have trouble sleeping in the evening, and this can affect their growth. Parents will also have difficulty sleeping as well.
An adult should be getting about seven to eight hours of sleep every day to properly recharge. Losing an hour of sleep from the recommended number of hours significantly reduces an individual’s ability to function at their maximum capacity.Humans generally spend 1/3 of their lives sleeping. Uratex Sales Director Mr. Dindo Medina shared that we should be sleeping like a log. If not, then we might have a sleep disorder, or there’s something wrong with our bed.
I suddenly realized that I haven’t been able to get a good sleep recently. I toss and turn, and would find myself waking up in the middle of my sleep. But I’m not paying attention. All I try to do is get more sleep some other days or take an afternoon nap if I can find it.
And it’s not just me taking sleep for granted. A shocking worldwide statistic has ranked the Philippines as the fifth country with the worst sleepers, with individuals getting an average of only six hours and 22 minutes of sleep. Sleep deprivation in the country affects about 50 million Filipinos, making the problem a national issue.
Regular loss of proper sleep can lead to circadian rhythm disorders. The circadian rhythm is a term that refers to a person’s internal body clock that regulates the 24-hour cycle of biological processes. It’s the body’s very own timer that triggers the body’s natural sleep and wake cycle. For adults, a dip in energy commonly occurs in the middle of the night and after lunch time. Noticeable big dips on this routine commonly means that an individual is sleep-deprived and is not getting enough rest.
Aside from the knowledge and tips shared by the Sleep Doctors from The Philippine Society of Sleep Medicine, there are things that can be done to sleep better. 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. The Philippine Society of Sleep Medicine (PSSM) comprised 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.
Uratex has been focused in creating quality sleep innovations like specialized mattresses and pillows that can help improve an individual’s rest. As Mr. Medina pointed out, it’s not enough that the mattress you’re buying is soft or firm. Consumers should be testing it by lying down on it just as you would use it and get the overall feel of the mattress.
Knowing more about sleep so I can sleep better is enlightening and it’s good that there are organizations working together 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.