SEOUL, Jun. 11 (Korea Bizwire) — Sleep is like a cure-all medicine, according to an old saying.
But an increasing number of South Koreans are going without sleep as city lights, stress, alcohol, smoking, and caffeine deters modern city dwellers from getting their daily dose of rest.
A recent study revealed that over 500,000 individuals sought medical help for sleep disorders last year.
According to big data released by the Health Insurance Review and Assessment Service yesterday, 515,326 people were treated for sleep disorders last year, up 13 percent from 456,124 patients in 2015.
In 2016, 494,915 people visited the doctor’s office for sleep-related issues.
Of those treated in 2016, men and women in their 50s made up the largest sleepless population at 21.7 percent of the total (107,197 people).
Those between the ages of 40 and 70 accounted for 73.9 percent of the total population, while 1.5 times more women (59.2 percent) than men (40.8 percent) complained of sleep disorders.
Sleep disorder is an umbrella term that includes all sorts of difficulties related to sleep. Insomnia is the inability to get sleep or to sleep well at night.
This results in tiredness and drowsiness, caused by bad sleeping habits, stress, and various physical illnesses.
Snoring is a symptom of obstructive sleep apnea, a sleep disorder that causes one to stop breathing temporarily during sleep.
Sleep apnea can cause insufficient oxygen to be supplied to the body, causing feelings of helplessness, tiredness, and a loss of memory.
Hypersomnia may be suspected if someone you know tends to doze off during the day even after getting more than seven hours of sleep every day.
Aside from these conditions, there are still many other types of sleep disorders and experts say many people are affected by them.
Medical experts say that sleep disorders can be treated through a mix of hygiene education, cognitive-behavioral coaching, and medication.
The Health Insurance Review states that the best way to prevent sleeping disorders is to maintain a proper sleeping environment.
Before sleeping, factors that may potentially stimulate the body, such as the consumption of alcohol and cigarettes should be avoided.
Intake of caffeine products should also be avoided as they can arouse the brain, which is not ideal if sleep is the goal.
Also, watching TV or playing video games should be halted an hour before sleep because such activities can stimulate the sympathetic nerves.
Lastly, as bright light can deter the secretion of melatonin, doctors say that a dark bedroom works best.
Ashley Song (firstname.lastname@example.org)