Information about common sleep problems now available for Chinese speakers

Thanks to a grant from the Australian Chinese Community Foundation Inc., the Sleep Health Foundation, Australia’s leading advocate for better sleep, has produced four of its popular fact sheets in Chinese Simplified. The fact sheets available in Chinese Simplified are written by experts and give information about

  • Insomnia
  • Obstructive Sleep Apnea (OSA)
  • Continuous Positive Airways Pressure (CPAP), a treatment for obstructive sleep apnea
  • Older People and Sleep

Studies show sleep problems like disrupted sleep, too little sleep, and daytime sleepiness are experienced by 25-35 per cent of all adults on a daily or several times a week basis.

About half of these problems can be attributed to treatable sleep disorders, particularly insomnia and obstructive sleep apnea, a condition which causes sleeping people to stop breathing many times a night, often accompanied by a loud gasping snore. Other sleep problems are largely due to poor sleep habits, stressful lifestyles or people choosing to sleep less without realising the harm it can do.

Insomnia and severe snoring problems are widespread in Australia but just one in every three sufferers seeking the help they need. “It’s a sad fact that more than one third of adults have sleeping problems. What is even more worrying is that many people put up with bad sleep and waking up feeling tired without realising help is at hand,” says Professor Dorothy Bruck, SHF Chair. “This poor sleep is bad for their health and mood, their relationships, the ability to drive safely, to do their job safely and their motivation to be active. “
“Sound sleep is as important for good health as a balanced diet and adequate exercise,” Professor Bruck says. “If you’re not getting enough sleep then your health and happiness will suffer.”

She advises people to keep regular sleep hours, avoid sleeping in and take care not to have daytime naps too late in the afternoon or for too long. The use of electronic devices which emit blue light, such as laptops also contributes to sleep problems. The blue light reduces the production of a natural sleep inducing hormone and people should stop using them at least one and a half hours before going to bed.

‘If you have trouble sleeping think about what may be causing the problem. The Sleep Health Foundation fact sheets, are a good starting point. Also talk to your GP about your sleep troubles because it may be that you need to be referred to a sleep specialist, said Professor Bruck. “If you are diagnosed with a sleep disorder, stay positive. There are good treatments for snoring, obstructive sleep apnea, insomnia and excessive daytime sleepiness that can get you back to better health in no time.”

Sleep Tips

• Keep regular sleep hours. Try to go to bed at about the same time every night and get out of bed about the same time every morning.
• Stop using devices that emit blue light such as smartphones and computers for at least an hour and a half before going to bed.
• Avoid sleeping in, even if you have had a poor night's sleep and still feel tired. If you happen to wake early, think about getting out of bed and starting your day. Regular sleep habits strengthen the internal body clock’s sleep-wake rhythm.
• Take care with naps. An afternoon nap may interfere with sleeping at night. This is often a problem if the nap is late in the afternoon or lasts longer than 15-20 minutes. The best approach is to experiment to find what works best. It is important to take into account that sleep needs and sleep patterns change with age.
• Talk to your doctor about your sleep problems and try to work out the cause of your difficulties. You may require referral to a sleep specialist.
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