Have a shitty night last night? You're not alone.

According to a recent study released by the China Sleep Research Society, 38 percent of China’s adult populace is suffering from insomnia.

The research, released prior to last Friday's (Mar 13) World Sleep Day but only hitting the web yesterday (we presume the researchers slept through their deadline), showed that Chinese adults have lost about a minute of sleep per night each year since the beginning of the 20th century, which implies that the average person sleeps 1.5 hours less per day than a century ago.

And despite our attempts to keep you from getting bored to death during work hours, it's apparently not working: 40 percent report taking naps at work (we assume those are the ones that have yet to discover our blog).

If you suspect that you suffer from insomnia, here’s a hands-down approach for self evaluation: keep a sleep log. Every night before you go to bed, grab a notebook and record the time you first lied down in bed. The next morning, record the estimated time you fell asleep and the time you woke up in the morning.

If this exercise alone doesn't bore you to sleep, it'll at least give you a benchmark to see how you're doing: If your sleep efficiency ratio (total sleep time vs lying in bed time) is lower than 85 percent, you are probably suffering from insomnia and should go to see a doctor, according to the report.

Speaking of benchmarks, according to Jawbone and 2014 China Sleep Quality Index, the average Beijinger in 2014 slept a mere 6 hours and 35 minutes nightly, and spent an average of 29 minutes using their cellphone while lying in bed before going to sleep (and we'll explain why that's a really bad idea later). Those lazybones down south in Shanghai do just a little bit better with 6 hours 40 minutes nightly.

Compare that to the overall China average of 7 hours and 30 minutes and you no longer have to wonder why everyone looks like a zombie on the Beijing Subway every morning at rush hour and walks around in public in their pajamas in Shanghai.

Of course we're doing a bit better than some other regional metropolises: Tokyo residents sleep the least (5 hrs 46 mins), followed by Seoul (5 hrs 55 mins), Dubai (6 hrs 32 mins) and Singapore (6 hrs 32 mins).

Some of the worst sleepers in the study were those employed in the media industry (dead last), PR people, start-up entrepreneurs, IT people, and sales people. Or basically virtually everyone employed at True Run Media, the people who bring you the Beijinger.

Of course you could get one of those handy sleep apps on your cellphone or buy one of those fancy gizmos you have to wear to bed or insert under your pillow, but god knows your body could use a break from the low-level radiation emitting from your various electronic devices, not to mention it's really irritating to tell your friends you had a good night's sleep last night by citing your Jawbone sleeping record data down to the second, you nerd.

There are many causes for insomnia. In Beijing, this includes (and we're just speculating here):

  • Your cellphone addiction. How many of you bring your cellphone to bed? Bad boy/girl. Don't do that. The light from your screen prevents your eyes from triggering the production of melatonin. Are you checking a sleep app in bed? Bad sign.
  • Work stress. It's hard to make ends meet here in Beijing these days, so its no wonder you're wondering if the landlord is going to WeChat you tomorrow to tell you she's raising the rent (again).
  • Traffic Noise from the trucks that are allowed inside the Fourth Ring after 10pm.
  • Yapping Pekinese lapdogs and mewing feral cats that occupy your residential compound.
  • Blaring boomboxes of the disco dancing grannies who long lost the need for restorative sleep and are learning the moves to "What Does the Fox Say" at 11pm at the clearing on the plaza outside your complex.
  • You're too jazzed from the latest victory by the Beijing Ducks.
  • Your mattress is too lumpy because you are an official sleeping on approximately RMB 1.6 million in stacks of tightly wrapped 100 kuai bills.
  • You spent your day napping at work, at Ikea, and on the two-hour subway ride at home, so you are not sufficiently tired at bedtime.

By the way, individuals suffering from insomnia are three to four times more likely to experience depression.

In the report, experts say that a cup of milk, a foot soak or a “philosophical book” (seriously?) can help, but clarified that neither drinking wine nor counting sheep will do.

About 40 percent of the people can’t sleep, that’s actually not bad. The National Sleep Foundation’s 2002 Sleep in America poll showed that 58 percent of adults in the US experienced symptoms of insomnia in a few nights a week or more.

Image: blog.umd.edu


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