Sleep Survey Results

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15% of Singaporeans suffer from Obstructive Sleep Apnea (OSA), a condition characterised by the repeated cessation of breathing during sleep.


Royal Philips Electronics recently announced the results of its global sleep survey conducted among 2,500 managers.

The survey, conducted in UK, US, Netherlands, Germany and Japan, showed that the average manager is sleep deprived and clocking in 19% less than the recommended amount of eight hours a night!

40% of the poor souls blame the state of the world economy as the major reason for their lack of sleep. “People lose sleep either because they cannot sleep (insomnia) or because they are not setting aside enough time for sleep - both of which can happen because of work-related stress in the current economic environment,” said Dr. David White, Chief Medical Officer for Philips Home Healthcare Solutions.

The survey also found that while 96% of managers recognise that inadequate sleep can seriously affect a person’s health, only 29% discuss their problematic sleep patterns. Of those that do, just 27% seek professional help from a doctor with the majority simply talking about their problems with family and friends.

Obstructive Sleep Apnea (OSA)

Respondents were also polled on their awareness of a common sleep disorder, Obstructive Sleep Apnea (OSA), a condition characterised by the repeated cessation of breathing during sleep.

The findings indicated a very high awareness of OSA as a curable illness (60%). Interestingly, despite the fact that snoring can be a key symptom of OSA, only 35% considered snoring a problem for them personally and 65% described snoring as a minor inconvenience that they did not feel needed to be dealt with.

It is estimated that in Singapore 15% of the population suffer from OSA. However, only a fraction are diagnosed. Across the border in Malaysia, around 7% of the population suffer from it.

The survey amplifies a key problem facing the medical profession which is that Sleep apnea and other sleep disorders are often not diagnosed as people do not recognise the symptoms or do not warrant the problems serious enough to talk to their doctors about it.

"In Singapore, sleep disorders represent a significant, and probably overlooked, health problem. Our practical experience suggests that chronic partial sleep deprivation is common and sleep apnea is one of the major sleep problems,” shared Dr. Lim Li Ling, President of Singapore Sleep Society.

Research in recent years has shown a link between OSA, diabetes, hypertension, obesity, heart attacks and strokes. However, OSA is easily diagnosed and curable. Patients can be effectively treated with Continuous Positive Airway Pressure (CPAP) therapy, a safe and non-invasive home healthcare treatment that enables OSA patients to breathe freely in their sleep. In CPAP theraphy, a CPAP machine is used to increase air pressure in your throat so that your airway does not collapse when you breathe in.

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Written by

Sandra Ong