News center | Singapore

Mar 17, 2021

Philips global sleep study finds Singaporeans’ sleep woes compounded by pandemic, yet more turning to telehealth for help
 

  • According to Philips 2021 global sleep survey released to mark World Sleep Day on March 19, Singaporeans now average 6.8 hours of sleep per night, down from 7 hours in the 2020 survey
  • Over half (57%) of Singaporeans’ ability to sleep well has been directly impacted by the pandemic; more than a third experience negative impact on their stress, ability to sleep well, mental/emotional health, sleep and work routines
  • With telehealth on the rise, Singaporeans are open to online means to address sleep-related concerns, yet fear hinders many from getting tested for obstructive sleep apnea

Singapore – Singaporeans have experienced at least one or more new sleep challenges since the beginning of COVID-19, with over half (57%) of those surveyed saying the pandemic has directly impacted their ability to sleep well. This finding was among others announced by Royal Philips (NYSE: PHG, AEX: PHIA), a global leader in health technology, in its 6th annual sleep survey, Seeking Solutions: How COVID-19 Changed Sleep Around the World.

 

As with fears and concerns in any crisis, the pandemic has exacerbated the sleep woes of Singaporeans. Almost a year since the onset of COVID-19, according to Philips 2021 global sleep survey released to coincide with World Sleep Day 2021, Singaporeans are reporting sleeping less, averaging 6.8 hours of sleep per night (vs 7 hours in the 2020 survey) – 6.6 hours on weekdays (vs 6.7 hours in the 2020 survey) and 7.3 hours on the weekend (vs 7.5 hours in the 2020 survey).

 

Despite the challenges, Singaporeans are taking action in the quest for a better sleep – including turning to online resources and telehealth for help. 

Singaporeans face hurdles each night in getting a good sleep

For half of the Singaporeans surveyed, their sleep patterns have been altered by the pandemic – close to three in 10 (28%) say that they now sleep less each night, with less than half (46%) feeling that they get enough sleep at night and just 21% saying that they feel well-rested most of the time when waking up in the morning.

 

Falling into a deep, continuous sleep is a challenge for many, with those surveyed facing difficulties like waking up during the night (40%), falling asleep (35%), and staying asleep (21%).

 

Worry and stress rank as the top reason for Singaporeans’ lack of sleep (31%), as well as their sleeping environment (16%), and mobile devices such as phones and tablets (13%).

 

Singaporeans kept awake by worry/stress say they worry most about their work responsibilities (58%), financial challenges (56%), family (32%), and their own/families’ health (30%). Almost a third (31%) 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, nearly half (49%) say it’s the last thing they do before falling asleep and the first thing they do when waking up (45%). Most use it for entertainment (47%), charging their phone overnight next to their bed (32%), and over one in 10 (15%) even respond to texts and calls that wake them up.

 

The majority of respondents who use their phone before falling asleep (69%) admit that it leads them to fall asleep later than they would like to, due to scrolling through social media (71%), watching videos (62%), texting (45%), checking emails (39%), or reading news about the COVID-19 pandemic (28%).

 

Taking action towards a better sleep

To get a better night’s sleep, Singaporeans are now experimenting with a variety of methods, including having a set bedtime/wake-up schedule (26%), watching television (24%), reducing caffeine consumption (22%), reading or playing soothing music (19%), and using sleep trackers or monitoring their sleep (10%).

 

Positively, Singaporeans are also turning towards telehealth and online health resources to address sleep issues. Over half (57%) say the first time they had a telehealth appointment was during the pandemic. With the increased reliance on telehealth during the pandemic, four in ten (40%) 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 Singaporeans more open to seeing a sleep specialist (41%), their primary care physician (39%), looking into online health sources and websites for information (40%), and using telehealth or seeing a specialist online (33%).

The tools required to deliver telehealth efficiently and reliably already exist, and the interest from consumers is apparent, particularly in the face of COVID-19,  “When used properly, sleep telehealth has the potential to enhance efficiency and quality of care, improve health outcomes, empower patients to make informed decisions, and provide equitable healthcare for all.”

Dr. Teofilo Lee-Chiong

MD, Chief Medical Liaison, Sleep & Respiratory Care at Philips.

Taking the bold step to address sleep issues such as OSA

 

While Singaporeans are positively seeking ways to address sleep issues, fear continues to hinder individuals from getting diagnosed for sleep conditions such as obstructive sleep apnea (OSA). One in five (21%) are afraid to take a sleep test as they don’t want to know if they have OSA, with 17% believing it is not necessary to be treated for OSA.

 

As a seldom-discussed, under-diagnosed condition, OSA is characterized by repeated interruptions in breathing throughout the sleep cycle, preventing oxygen from reaching the lungs1. As many as 1 in 3 Singaporeans suffer from OSA, and 91% have not been diagnosed2. Symptoms of OSA include choking or gasping for air during sleep, loud and persistent snoring and excessive daytime fatigue, and poor concentration during the day.

The pandemic has undeniably altered our daily routines, including our sleep habits. Despite the time savings from skipping the daily commute, it’s clear that Singaporeans still face multiple challenges in getting good and sufficient quality sleep each night, “Getting enough sleep is essential for productivity and overall wellness, so it’s crucial that individuals facing persistent sleep issues take action to get themselves diagnosed and treated for serious underlying sleep-related chronic conditions.”

Ivy Lai

Country Manager, Philips Singapore

In conjunction with World Sleep Day, Philips has launched an Online Sleep Quiz and Home Sleep Test for individuals to assess their sleep issues and get diagnosed for OSA. Participants who are assessed as having high risk of OSA through the online sleep quiz will be offered a home sleep test at S$39 (U.P: S$350), all done in the comfort of their home. Should they be diagnosed with OSA, they will be referred to a sleep specialist for a follow-up.

 

To learn more about the Global Sleep Survey and Philips’ commitment to improving access to sleep technology worldwide, visit Philips.com/WorldSleepDay.

 

1 Philips. About Sleep Apnea. Available from: https://www.philips.com.sg/c-e/hs/sleep-apnea-therapy.html

2 Adeline Tan, Yan Yi Cheung, Jason Yin, Wei‐Yen Lim, Linda W.L. Tan, Chi‐Hang Lee. Prevalence of sleep‐disordered breathing in a multiethnic Asian population in Singapore: A community‐based study. Available from: https://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/full/10.1111/resp.12747

About Royal Philips  

Royal Philips (NYSE: PHG, AEX: PHIA) is a leading health technology company focused on improving people's health and well-being, and enabling better outcomes across the health continuum – from healthy living and prevention, to diagnosis, treatment and home care. Philips leverages advanced technology and deep clinical and consumer insights to deliver integrated solutions. Headquartered in the Netherlands, the company is a leader in diagnostic imaging, image-guided therapy, patient monitoring and health informatics, as well as in consumer health and home care. Philips generated 2020 sales of EUR 19.5 billion and employs approximately 82,000 employees with sales and services in more than 100 countries. News about Philips can be found at www.philips.com/newscenter.

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About the Survey

This survey was conducted online by KJT Group, Inc. on behalf of Philips from November 17 – December 7, 2020 among 13,000 adults ages 18 and older in 13 countries (Australia: n=1,000; Brazil: n=1,000; China: n=1,000; France: n=1,000; Germany: n=1,001; India: n=1,000; Italy: n=1,000; Japan: n=1,000; Netherlands: n=1,000; Singapore: n=1,000; South Korea: n=999; United Kingdom: n=1,000; and the U.S.: n=1,000). The survey was web-based and self-administered in the primary language(s) of each country. These were non-probability samples and thus a margin of error cannot be accurately estimated. For complete survey methodology, including weighting variables, please contact Meredith Amoroso at meredith.amoroso@philips.com.

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Contacts

Sheo Rai

Sheo S. Rai

Senior Manager
Brand and Communications
Philips ASEAN Pacific

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Singaporeans’ sleep woes compounded by pandemic, Philips’ global sleep study finds

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