University students have long been known, as claimed by Dement (1997), to burn the midnight oil and maintain an unhealthy lifestyle, which could be potentially hazardous to their health condition. Apart from dozing off in the class, sleeping deprivation and poor sleeping quality led to many long-term effects on the health conditions. Recently, we conducted a survey among the National University of Singapore (NUS) undergraduates to explore their knowledge of healthy lifestyle and sleeping habits (see Appendix A Interview Questions).
The research mainly covered the concept of a healthy lifestyle, the sleeping hours and rituals. The aim of this paper is to reveal the general sleeping and healthy lifestyle conditions among NUS undergraduates and to revoke awareness on the healthy lifestyle and sleeping issue. Methodology The primary evidence was collected from our interviews, and several related materials were analyzed as subsidiary resources. We conducted face-to-face interviews and recorded down the responds from respondents. Six faculties were involved in the research, including Faculty of Science, Faculty of Art and Social
Sleep and Healthy Lifestyle
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Science, Faculty of Engineering, Faculty of Business, School of computing and School of design and environment. Because of the limitation of the research method, we have only covered 96 respondents in our research. Results and Discussion This research covers the concept of a healthy lifestyle, sleeping deprivation and other related perspectives. The result is to some extent in accordance with our expectation, but some of the problems of sleeping disorders and deprivation have grabbed our attention. This section will discuss these topics in detail.
Healthy lifestyle concept The concept of a healthy lifestyle may vary according to different people. From the research, it is clear that sleep, nutrition and exercise are major contributing factors, with some of the respondents emphasizing the importance of scheduled and balanced lifestyle. However, they could only give an idea of the concept without knowing further about this topic.
Sleeping hours Scientists accentuate the importance of length of sleep, suggesting a six to eight hours of sleep every night. Insufficient sleep may lead to diminishing productivity, tendency to make mistakes and most dangerously, unintended sleep. Figure 2 shows the sleeping hours among the respondents. The percentage of sleep deprivation among NUS undergraduates is sobering. 18 out of 95 respondents stated that they have less than 6 hours of sleep each day, and as one of the respondents added, “There were many students dozing off during lectures. In addition, some of the respondents gave details of the sleeping time at night, ranging from eleven o’clock to two or three o’clock in the morning, and even shockingly, four or five in the morning when there is no lecture in the morning. However, noting that our biological rhythms work just the other way around, the sleeping habits of the majority of undergraduates are unhealthy. Reports (Fredrik, 2007) indicated that the period of 11 o’clock in the evening to 3 o’clock in the morning is when the body goes through a detoxification process and any time between 5 o’clock to 7 o’clock in the morning is suitable for defecation process.
Interviews with respondents reveal that most of them will choose to eat before bedtime if they are hungry. However, burning the midnight oil easily contributes to bedtime eating habit. Besides, scientists claim that eating within three hours before bedtime is unhealthy (Taft, 2012). The research also reveals that the second most favorable activity before bedtime is to exercise, which was proved to be beneficial to the improvement of sleeping quality, as stated in (Wooten, 2007).
The overall results from each faculty were mostly the same (see Appendix B). However, when it comes to sleeping hours and sleeping rituals, much can be done to improve the quality and efficiency of sleep, in order to avoid impaired performances and unintended sleep during daytime. The significance of the study of sleeping patterns is obvious, for it reveals the healthy condition of undergraduates and possibly revokes awareness of sleeping issue among NUS undergraduates. (846 words)
- Fredrik, P. (2007). When is the Best Time to Sleep?.Retrieved November 30, 2012 from http://www. ineedmotivation. com/blog/2007/10/when-is-the-best-time-to-sleep/
- Taft, W. (2012). Stop eating three hours before bed. Retrieved November 30, 2012 from http://willtaft. com/eat-at-least-3-hours-before-going-to-sleep/
- Dement, W. (1997). Sleepless at Stanford. In What all undergraduates should know about how their sleeping lives affect their waking lives. Retrieved November 30, 2012 from Stanford University, Center of Excellence for the Diagnosis and Treatment of Sleep Disorders Web site: http://www. stanford. du/~dement/sleepless. html
- Wooten, V. D. (2007). Discovery Health: "How to Fall Asleep". Retrieved November 30, 2012 from http://health. howstuffworks. com/mental-health/sleep/basics/how-to-fall-asle ep. htm
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