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EYE ON CHINA
Insomnia spreads among young Chinese
The incidence of sleep disorders in China is 38.2 percent, well above the international level

A study by the sleep research society found that the incidence of sleep disorder in China is 38.2 per cent, well above the international level, which the World Health Organization puts at 27 per cent.

The number of patients with sleep problems has grown considerably in the past decade, according to Guo Xiheng, director of the sleep and respiratory center at Beijing Chaoyang Hospital, Capital Medical University. He says nearly a third of his patients are younger than 30, 10 years ago, the ratio was about 10 per cent.

Han Fang, president of the Chinese Sleep Research Society said, "Our studies have found that more and more youths have sleep problems; many used to have small problems that became severe sleep diseases. We should pay more attention to the trend."

The World Association of Sleep Medicine launched an annual campaign in 2008 to lessen the burden of sleep problems on society and raise people's awareness of the issue, with China organising its own Sleep Day every year on 21 March.

Many young people are under intense pressure from work and study, and sleep less in order to compete with their peers, but that results in poor mental health and contributes to many of their sleep problems. Overuse of electronic devices, such as smartphones, is another factor significantly affecting their sleep.

Many young adults often ignore sleep problems and have irregular lifestyles or attended too many social activities.

Most people 20 to 40 years old do not sleep until after midnight, which has affected their normal biological clock and resulted in declining sleep quality, short sleep duration and even loss of sleep, Guo said.

He said that ideally, an adult should get to sleep at around 10 pm and sleep for seven to eight hours.

Almost all his elderly patients developed bad sleep habits or sleep problems when they were young, according to Guo.

Source: China Daily

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