As with fears and concerns in any crisis, the pandemic has exacerbated the sleep woes of people globally. Almost a year since the onset of COVID-19, according to Philips 2021 global sleep survey released to coincide with World Sleep Day 2021 (March 19), people in APAC are reporting sleeping more, averaging 7.2 hours of sleep per night (vs 7.1 hours in the 2020 survey), yet one in four (41%) feel that they are not satisfied with their sleep.
Despite the challenges, people across APAC are taking action in the quest for a better sleep – including turning to online resources and telehealth for help.
People across the region face hurdles each night in getting a good sleep
For half of the respondents in APAC surveyed, their sleep patterns have been altered by the pandemic – nearly a quarter (22%) say that they now sleep less each night, with just 35% saying that they feel well-rested most of the time when waking up in the morning and 44% experiencing daytime drowsiness.
Falling into a deep, continuous sleep is a challenge for many, with those surveyed facing difficulties like waking up during the night (42%), falling asleep (33%), and staying asleep (26%).
Worry and stress rank as the top reason for APAC adults’ lack of sleep (21%), as well as their mobile devices such as phones and tablets (17%) and sleeping environment (16%).
People in APAC kept awake by worry/stress say they worry most about their financial challenges (54%), work responsibilities (52%), their own/families’ health (38%), and family in general (34%). Nearly half (43%) also worry about the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.
Mobile use leading to inconsistent sleep habits
For those accustomed to using their mobile phones in bed, half (50%) say it’s the last thing they do before falling asleep and the first thing they do when waking up (51%). Most use it for entertainment (49%), charging their phone overnight next to their bed (37%), and over one in five (22%) even respond to texts and calls that wake them up.
The majority of respondents who use their phone before falling asleep (78%) admit that it leads them to fall asleep later than they would like to, due to scrolling through social media (75%), watching videos (67%), checking emails (39%), texting (37%), or reading news about the COVID-19 pandemic (45%).
Taking action towards a better sleep
To get a better night’s sleep, people in APAC are now experimenting with a variety of methods, including playing soothing music (41%), reading (40%), watching television (39%), having a set bedtime/wake-up schedule (35%), reducing caffeine consumption (25%), and using sleep trackers or monitoring their sleep (18%).
Positively, those in APAC are also turning towards telehealth and online health resources to address sleep issues. Half (50%) say the first time they had a telehealth appointment was during the pandemic. With the increased reliance on telehealth during the pandemic, six in ten (60%) respondents expressed a willingness to seek help for sleep related concerns in future from a sleep specialist via telehealth services, although many have yet to take that step.
General awareness of the importance of sleep and the need to tackle underlying sleep issues is also making people in APAC more open to seeing a sleep specialist (45%), their primary care physician (41%), looking into online health sources and websites for information (41%), and using telehealth or seeing a specialist online (40%).