Quality Sleep: First Make Efforts to Review Lifestyle Habits

Quality sleep is essential for maintaining mental and physical health. Not only should individuals improve their own daily habits, companies and schools also need to take steps to ensure good sleep.

According to a survey by the Health, Labor and Welfare Ministry, 40% of those aged 20 or older sleep less than six hours a night, which is considered insufficient. In addition to time spent working, this has been attributed to the fact that people use smartphones and play video games before bed.

Insufficient sleep can easily lead to ailments such as high blood pressure and diabetes. The ministry’s white paper on measures to prevent death from overwork cautions that a lack of sleep increases the risk of depression.

However, how much sleep is needed varies from person to person, depending on age and amount of daytime activity.

The ministry has revised its guidelines for sleep to promote health, presenting recommended times by age group. It states that adults should sleep at least six hours, while elementary school students should sleep nine to 12 hours and junior high and high school students should sleep eight to 10 hours.

The guidelines say elderly people should take care not to stay in bed for longer than eight hours unless they have health problems, since the elderly do not need prolonged sleep.

In addition, sleeping late on one’s days off to make up for insufficient sleep on weekdays might disrupt the rhythm of daily life and be detrimental to one’s health.

The government should strive to inform the public about what to keep in mind in sleep and health.

Problems in sleeping can lead to poor work efficiency and accidents. Companies should also give consideration to improving the quality of sleep of their workers.

Some companies are using sleep management apps to help employees improve their health. There are also businesses that are working to set up dedicated spaces within the company for napping, as appropriate napping improves work efficiency. Each company should devise and promote their own efforts.

The market for sleep-related products has been expanding in recent years. Many products are on the market, such as bedding meant to ensure a good night’s sleep and devices to measure sleep quality, indicating a high level of interest among the public.

As for individual efforts, reviewing lifestyle habits is also effective. For example, bathing should be done one to two hours before bedtime and nightcaps and excessive consumption of caffeine should be avoided.

Insufficient sleep among children is a concern. Most elementary, junior high and high school students sleep around seven hours. Adults must be careful to ensure that staying up late does not become a habit for children.

The city of Sakai provides sleep education for elementary and junior high school students. In addition to teaching them about the benefits of sleep and the amount of time needed, the city has students record their sleep status, and if there are problems, the school side consults with students and their parents to find ways to improve sleep. It is important to promote such efforts across the nation.

(From The Yomiuri Shimbun, April 8, 2024)