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Studies have shown that up to 30% of people in developed countries now suffer from chronic insomnia, the term itself likely a modern creation. A 2018 Wakefield Research poll across 12 countries revealed Singaporeans to be the second most sleep-deprived behind the British. In 2021, a global sleep survey by Philips discovered Singaporeans got less sleep and experienced more sleep challenges during the Covid-19 pandemic.

Most of us juggle a day job alongside parenting and household duties. It is no wonder that sleep has become a luxury we wish we can afford more. If we are hoping for more sleep only when our kids are grown up, the ill effects are likely already creeping up on us, possibly affecting our productivity and mood both at home and at the workplace. Think about it – people who do not get a good night’s sleep may be more prone to getting impatient with their spouse, with the conflict in turn affecting mood negatively and causing reduced quality of rest – a vicious cycle in the making. The same fatigue and compromised mental and emotional state also extend to how we are interacting with our children. 

We could look at some of our bad habits and lifestyle now, and also commit to giving ourselves the sleep that we need.

How important is sleep, really? While we may be able to recover from the occasional late-night up, getting regular quality sleep helps us:

  1. 1. Focus better, think more clearly, and be more attentive to the needs of our children and spouse at home, as well as perform better at work

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  2. 2. Avoid accidents and injuries (think drivers who doze off at the steering wheel)

  3. 3. Fall sick less often

  4. 4. Maintain a healthy weight

  5. 5. Lower the risk of serious health problems as we age, such as diabetes and heart disease

  1. 6. Reduce stress and generally maintain a good mood

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Related read:
Sleep and Its Importance to Children

So how much sleep we do really need every day? There are different recommendations for different age groups, but as a general rule of thumb for adults, aim to get at least 7 hours of sleep daily. 

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Here are more tips to improving your sleep for a better lifestyle: 

  1. 1. Try to keep to a regular bed time and routine. Going to bed and waking up at a fixed time every day helps to condition our body to get the rest it needs, and makes waking up in the morning much easier! 

  2. 2. Develop your own bedtime ritual – be it some reading, having a warm glass of water or milk, listening to relaxing music or soothing tense muscles with a body massage. 

  3. 3. Create a sleep-conducive environment for yourself in your room, with cooler temperature and low or no lighting. 

  4. 4. Avoid heavy meals just before bed, or caffeine 6 hours before sleep. 

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  1. 5. Avoid intensive workouts before bedtime. 

  1. 6. Avoid being on your bed for doing work, playing games or talking on the phone. Condition your mind to associate your bed with sleep. 

  2. 7. Refrain from the use of devices at least 30 minutes or an hour before bedtime. This prevents your mind from being over-stimulated and subsequently hindering sleep quality. 

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Last but not least, power naps can also be an energy booster in the daytime! However, do be mindful to keep them short so as not to affect your rest at night. With better sleep, we can be happier parents!

Related read:
Does taking a power nap during the day work?