Experts urge public to improve sleep
China Daily

Sleep medicine experts urge the public to pay more attention to their sleep health ahead of World Sleep Day which falls on Mar 21 .

File photo: China Daily

There are 300 million people with sleeping disorders in China and half of them need medical intervention, said Han Fang, general secretary of World Sleep Society and director of center for respiratory sleep medicine at Beijing University People's Hospital, at an awareness raising event Friday.

"If a sleep disorder causes physical unfitness like memory deterioration and complication like elevated blood pressure, one should seek medical assistance," he urged.

Initiated by experts of sleep medicine research in 2007, World Sleep Day, has been celebrated for 16 years, and focuses on "Healthy sleep, Healthy life" this year.

According to the 2023 China healthy sleep white paper, released on Feb 27 by Chinese Sleep Research Society and DeRUCCI, a household products company, the average sleep quality of those surveyed decreased significantly and 60.4% of them have had issues with their sleep since Nov 2022. Their Pittsburgh Sleep Quality Index, an indicator of sleep quality, fell from 5.6 to 7.2, signalling a transition from "normal" to "sleep disorder."

Ann, a mother of a narcolepsy patient, said the chronic sleep disorder brought a lot of mental and physical challenges to her family.

"My child was diagnosed with a sleep disorder six years ago. He was going to take his senior high school entrance examination at that time. He often suddenly fell asleep in classes and examinations. Luckily, his teachers were kind and tolerant to him. With Han's timely treatment, his condition gradually improved. Now he is studying visual design overseas."

"Rare Dream", a public welfare painting exhibition, was set up in Beijing University People's Hospital. All painting scenes come from patients' dreams. They were not only created by patients themselves, but also artists, making this exhibition a bond that connects patients, artists, medical experts and the public.

"I hope these activities will facilitate the research, development and introduction of related medicines to help patients with sleep disorders," Han added.

"I hope more people will become aware of sleep disorders like narcolepsy through this art form and call on the public to pay attention to their own sleep health," said Dai Ying, director of the Blue Whale Rare Disease Special Fund of Shanghai Charity Foundation.