SEOUL, Oct. 16 (Korea Bizwire) – The number of South Koreans who rely on sleeping pills to get a good night’s sleep is steadily growing, a new report has revealed.
According to data from the National Health Insurance Service put forward on Sunday by lawmaker Ki Dong-min, a member of the Health & Welfare Committee, the number of individuals suffering from sleep disorders in South Korea has grown significantly over the last four years.
The figure stood at 384,000 in 2013, which then grew to 415,000 the next year and reached nearly 500,000 in 2016, with a total of nearly 2.1 million people having visited a hospital for a sleep disorder over the last five years, the data also showed.
When broken down by gender, there were 1.25 million women who had sought medical help for sleep disorders, accounting for 59 percent and easily surpassing the figure for their male counterparts.
When divided by age group, those in their 50s accounted for over 21 percent of the total, followed closely by those in their 70s and 60s who accounted for 18.2 and 17.9 percent, respectively.
In the meantime, the number of young people suffering from sleep disorders also increased, with the figures for those in their 20s and 30s reaching 54,000 and 28,000, respectively, in 2016, up 31.4 and 28.4 percent from five years ago.
Gyeonggi Province turned out to be the most sleepless region in the country, according to the data, with nearly one in four sleep disorder patients found to be located in the area.
Many of those living in metropolitan cities like Seoul and Busan were also found to be more likely to suffer from sleep disorders than those from other cities.
The aggregate medical expenditures dedicated to treating sleep disorders over the last five years were estimated to surpass 235 billion won.
Data provided by the Health Insurance Review & Assessment Service also showed the number of prescriptions for sleeping pills dropped slightly in 2014, then gradually increased between 2015 and 2016.
“Sleep disorders are often thought to be caused by stress at home and work as well as drastic changes in society. As common disorders change along with society, we must implement health care policy that reflects modern society,” Kim said.
Hyunsu Yim (firstname.lastname@example.org)