Statistics show that 9 out of 10 Malaysians have some level of insomnia and have one or more kinds of sleeping problems
by NUR HAZIQAH A MALEK/ pic by ARIF KARTONO
SLEEP education against medication dependence and potential overdose is needed as technology begins to affect modern lifestyles and disrupts the sleep cycle, according to an expert.
Rosemary Clancy (picture) — who is a registered psychologist at the Australian Health Practitioner Regulation Agency registered psychologist and clinical psychologist at the Sydney Sleep Centre — said sleeping pill habits can evolve and have a long-term effect.
“Constant intake of sleeping medication can lead to overdose whereas one will try to mix their sleeping aid medicines, which starts because we keep seeking for the reward of taking medication — which is sleep.
“Similarly, it starts from wanting to control our sleep, by taking medication to guarantee our sleep,” she said at the AmLife International Sdn Bhd’s hosted tribute for World Sleep Day 2020 yesterday.
Clancy said one example that could be used is actor Heath Ledger, who died as a result of acute intoxication by the combined effects of oxycodone, hydrocodone, diazepam, temazepam, alprazolam and doxylamine.
“So one way to deal with it is by taking sleeping medication only once per month in order to ensure its effectiveness and keep them for nights that really matter, and resensitise ourselves to the medicine.
“However, to figure out the nights that really matter means another calculation to take into consideration,” she said.
The truth behind a sleep cycle, she said, is the unique phase of rapid eye movement (REM) sleep, which alternates with non-REM sleep within one cycle, lasting about 90 minutes in adult humans.
“When you take sleeping medication, it only leads to suppressed REM sleep, while alcohol is very damaging to deep sleep,” she said.
AmLife founder and president Lew Mun Yee said sleep education is not only close to the company’s hearts and business philosophy, but increasingly important as sleep disorders are escalating.
“Together with World Sleep Society, AmLife is hosting a sleep showcase which includes sleep workshops and demonstrations in three key countries — Malaysia, Indonesia and Taiwan — this year,” he said.
According to the World Sleep Association, there is a growing trend in sleep disorders with an increasing number of affected populations in the country.
The statistics also found that 35% of Malaysians have some sort of sleeping disorders, while over 53% of Malaysia’s workforce gets less than the minimum seven hours sleep in a 24-hour period with at least 51% suffering from work- related stress.
In addition, nine out of 10 Malaysians have some level of insomnia and have one or more kinds of sleeping problems.
Among the threats due to the lack of sleep include those who sleep less than six hours a day have four times higher stroke risk than those who sleep longer, according to USA Today, while a study by Columbia University revealed that people who sleep less have 73% higher chance of becoming obese.
Meanwhile, a study by the American Cancer Society discovered that people who sleep less than seven hours a day have 47% higher risk of cancer, while lack of sleep can easily lead to myocardial infarction, up 1.45 times higher risk of developing coronary artery heart disease.