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Dream, sweet dream

By Li Yang | China Daily | Updated: 2013-04-30 02:00

How are Chinese people sleeping at night? Not well, according to the nation's first sleep index, published by the Chinese Medical Doctor Association on March 19, Li Yang reports.

The report investigated thousands of residents in 20 cities, 20 counties and 20 villages from November to December in 2012 and found that the overall sleep quality among Chinese people is not high. One important cause is that most Chinese do not have awareness of the importance of healthy sleep, and fewer still know how to scientifically improve sleep quality.

Dream, sweet dream

Students at a primary school in Fuyang, Anhui province, learn how to improve sleeping postures. Wang Biao / Provided to China Daily

The average sleep time of a Chinese person is eight hours and 50 minutes each day, but at least half of those surveyed report feeling tired after getting up. The national average sleep score is 64.3 on a scale of 100.

"Chinese people's sleeping time is not short. However, their sleep quality is quite low," said Mu Yue, president of Horizon Studies and Consulting Company, a partner of the association.

"Chinese people need to improve their sleep quality by changing their lifestyle and paying attention to some factors that are necessary for good sleep."

The research in Beijing supports his view. In the capital city, people get up at 6:33 am and go to bed at 10:15 pm on average.

However, the long amount of time spent in bed does not translate necessarily into good sleep. Beijing ranked third among 20 cities in terms of difficulty falling asleep. More than 80 percent of Beijing residents complain that stress affects their sleep. Difficulty breathing and nightmares are also common problems.

Cao Jidong, an office clerk in Beijing, said: "I live in the east suburb of Beijing and work in the west second-ring road of the city. It takes me two hours total to go to my office from my home by bus and subway. To ensure that I arrive in the office at 8:30 am, I have to leave home at 6 am. My work ends at 6 pm. When I get home at around 8:30 pm, I feel too tired to talk. I sleep in the subway and in bed."

But people can still sleep well despite a heavy workload if they know how to properly cope with stress and create the necessary conditions for good sleep, according to the association.

"I now understand how precious and wonderful sleep is. Most of the time, I take a short nap after I come back from school, and at night I normally go to bed at 10 pm," said Penny Lau, an English teacher from Malaysia who now works in Beijing.

"And when I lie in bed, I normally don't go to sleep immediately. I think and dream until I fall asleep. And because I have more than enough sleep at night, I feel very refreshed throughout the whole day."

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