Are we sleeping more than our neighbours in the region? We all know we should prioritise sleep but many of us don't get a full night's sleep. Can we make up for the lack of sleep on weekends, or by taking afternoon naps? What causes insomnia and is it normal for the elderly to have poor sleep? These and other questions have been answered by Prof. Michael Chee in this podcast.

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If there is one topic most Singaporeans often talk about, it's that a huge number of us feel tired and sleep deprived most of the time, but can't seem to do anything meaningful to escape our situations.

Lest we romanticise the notion of sleep as a worthy sacrifice, the consequences of doing so need to be given due consideration.

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Kids are inactive and they may be losing sleep over it. If you think kids can get a little physical activity and then play video games into the wee hours, yet remain healthy, you’re in for a rude awakening. Emerging research, which spurred Canada to develop the world’s first 24-Hour Movement Guidelines, shows that physical activity, sedentary behaviour – and sleep – are closely interrelated.

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It drains primary school kids of a love of learning. And it is an ageing education strategy that won't take Singapore to the next level of growth.

Singapore's primary school pupils are busier than a McKinsey consultant. The kids disappear before 7am to toil in school till 2pm. Then most - an estimated 70 per cent, as per surveys - move on to continue their drilling at one of the constantly sprouting tuition centres across the island. The reward for this gruelling regimen is - hopefully - a high test score in the PSLE. A propensity to tolerate regular "drill and kill" routines from young makes them proficient test-takers in later years, too. And the high scores in the international Pisa benchmark - dubbed the World Cup of Education - that make Singapore proud every year can be rightly attributed to the drilling culture.

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Sleep deprivation costs the U.S. economy as much as $411 billion in lost productivity every year.

It was after midnight when the guided-missile destroyer USS Oscar Austin eased into a narrow channel leading toward the Baltic Sea. Three other destroyers followed behind. The commander, John Cordle, an accomplished and experienced Navy captain, had gone 36 hours with no real sleep. Now, as the ship started its passage on a routine training mission, he swayed on his feet, gripping an overhead cable to keep himself upright and awake. The lights were dim, the ship silent. He snapped awake. The navigator was saying they had lost their position. In the haze of fatigue and confusion, Cordle ordered the ship to slow—forgetting the three other destroyers coming up fast behind him. A crewmember had to remind him to warn them off. He tells the story now to junior officers as a warning—a warning backed by years of RAND research that has shown, again and again, the staggering toll that poor sleep takes on our society. Researchers have found that our chronic sleep deprivation impacts everything from the quality of our work to the health and well-being of our children—even the basic readiness of our military.

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Why aren’t more schools following its lead?

On Tuesday, U.S. News and World Report released its annual public high-school rankings, with the School for the Talented and Gifted in Dallas earning the top spot for the fifth year in a row. The rankings are based on a wealth of data, including graduation rates and student performance on state proficiency tests and advanced exams, as well as other relevant factors—like the percentage of economically disadvantaged students the schools serve. But there’s one key metric that isn’t tracked despite having a proven impact on academic performance: school start times.

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Sleep deprivation is the undoing of startup founders, according to Arianna Huffington. “There is this kind of founder myth that if you are a founder you can’t afford to get enough sleep,” she told me over the phone while catching a plane back to New York. “The truth is three-quarters of startups fail and if founders got more sleep they’d have a better chance of succeeding.”

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Wearable fitness trackers are a growing market in the US. The industry is worth up to $3bn (£1.8bn) by some estimates. Wristbands and smart phones can monitor physical activity, calorie intake, heart rate - and now sleep. One in three Americans doesn't get enough of shuteye, and chronic deprivation can lead to long-term health problems. Recent research also suggests it has an impact on athletic performance, which is why more and more sportsmen and women are turning to sleep and other fitness trackers to give them a competitive edge. But how accurate are these wearable technologies?

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The Royal Society for Public Health is warning that many of us are regularly getting too little sleep. It is calling on the government to intervene and issue guidance with a so-called 'slumber number' for the hours of shut-eye we should get every night. Joanna Gosling spoke to Shirley Cramer, chief executive of the society that published the report.

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The legendary work ethic of East Asian students may have driven them to the top of the standardised test leaderboard but researchers at Duke-NUS Medical School (Duke-NUS) found that adolescents who sleep five hours a night for a week experience significant cognitive degradation. These findings caution against the levels of sleep curtailment practiced by as many as half of East Asian students in their headlong pursuit of higher grades.

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FINLAND — The most reliable workers are those who get seven to eight hours of sleep each night, a new study has showed.

Researchers from Finland analysed the sleep habits and missed work days among 3,760 men and women over about seven years. The workers ranged in age from 30 to 64 at the start of the study.

The researchers found that the use of sick days was associated with the worker’s sleep habits. Not surprisingly, they found that people who did not get enough sleep because of insomnia or other sleep problems were more likely to miss work. However, notably, getting a lot of extra sleep was also associated with missed work.

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I was sitting in class, my freshman year of college, quietly taking notes, when suddenly something crawled up from underneath the seat in front of me. I recoiled in horror: It was a witch!

Then I woke up. While my in-class nightmare may have been extreme, I was hardly unique in my sleep deprivation — recent research shows America’s young people are, in general, a drowsy lot. And some say schools should change their schedules to accommodate them.

At The Atlantic, Jessica Lahey reports on a new policy paper issued by the American Academy of Pediatrics, in which Dr. Judith A. Owens and her co-authors write that “the average adolescent in the United States is chronically sleep deprived and pathologically sleepy (i.e., regularly experiencing levels of sleepiness commensurate with those of patients with sleep disorders such as narcolepsy).” They argue that sleep deprivation hurts children’s school performance and puts them at risk of anxiety disorders, car crashes and Type 2 diabetes. To address the problem, they recommend that “in most districts, middle and high-schools should aim for a starting time of no earlier than 8:30 a.m.” to allow kids to get the sleep they need.

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Researchers at Duke-NUS Graduate Medical School Singapore (Duke-NUS) have found evidence that the less older adults sleep, the faster their brains age. These findings, relevant in the context of Singapore's rapidly ageing society, pave the way for future work on sleep loss and its contribution to cognitive decline, including dementia.

Past research has examined the impact of sleep duration on cognitive functions in older adults. Though faster brain ventricle enlargement is a marker for cognitive decline and the development of neurodegenerative diseases such as Alzheimer's, the effects of sleep on this marker have never been measured.

The Duke-NUS study examined the data of 66 older Chinese adults, from the Singapore-Longitudinal Aging Brain Study(1). Participants underwent structural MRI brain scans measuring brain volume and neuropsychological assessments testing cognitive function every two years. Additionally, their sleep duration was recorded through a questionnaire. Those who slept fewer hours showed evidence of faster ventricle enlargement and decline in cognitive performance.

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Older adults who sleep less show evidence of a more rapid decline in cognitive performance, according to a study by Duke-NUS Graduate Medical School Singapore.

SINGAPORE: The less older adults sleep, the faster their brains age, according to a study released on Tuesday (July 1) by the Duke-NUS Graduate Medical School Singapore.

The findings were based on a 10-year-long study of 66 older Chinese adults aged 55 years and above. By looking into their structural MRI brain scans, which measure brain volume and neuropsychological assessments, and factoring in the hours of sleep they recorded, the researchers found that those who slept fewer hours showed evidence of faster ventricle enlargement and decline in cognitive performance.

“Our findings relate short sleep to a marker of brain aging,” said Dr June Lo, the lead author and a Duke-NUS Research Fellow.

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Researchers find connection between sleep deprivation and a marker of aging brains

We know that sleep is important for a host of body functions, from weight control to brain activities, but the latest study hints that it may also keep aging processes in check.

Scientists at the Duke-NUS Graduate School Singapore report in the journal Sleep that among a group of 66 elderly Chinese volunteers, those who reported sleeping less each night on average showed swelling of a brain region indicating faster cognitive decline.

The participants had MRI brain scans every two years, and answered questions about their sleep habits as well. Other studies have suggested that adults need about seven hours of sleep a night to maintain proper brain function; future research will investigate how sleep helps to preserve cognitive functions and hold off more rapid aging.

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