UAE | Health

68% of UAE residents do not get enough sleep

Lack of shut-eye time will eventually take its toll on the health of 68 per cent of UAE residents

  • By Mahmood Saberi, Senior Reporter
  • Published: 00:00 October 2, 2010
  • Gulf News

Eyes wide shut
  • Image Credit: Jupiter Images
  • A survey has shown that many residents do not get enough sleep and spend their bed time either surfing the social networks, watching TV or frequently spending late nights out.

Dubai: Do you feel irritable, tired, stressed out and experience frequent infections? Then you must be suffering from lack of sleep like many other people in the UAE.

A survey has shown that many residents do not get enough sleep and spend their bed time either surfing the social networks, watching TV or frequently spending late nights out.

The daily stress at the workplace also does not end at the office as the survey showed that many bring their work to their homes and work late into the night.

Doctors warn that lack of proper sleep could have long-term adverse effects on one's health and impact on jobs or studies.

The health and fitness study covered over 750 people and showed that a majority — 68 per cent — do not get proper sleep at night. The findings were the same across various nationalities and included Emiratis, GCC nationals and expatriates.

Eight hours

Dr Lalit Uchil, a specialist in internal medicine, said eight hours of sleep is essential every night. The first thing that happens because of lack of sleep is frazzled nerves, loss of concentration and a constant feeling of being run-down, said the doctor with the Welcare Ambulatory Care Centre.

He said people in Dubai work long hours, many also fly in and out of time zones and are constantly under pressure.

"The result is weakness, headaches. You don't enjoy life," he said.

Uchil said his clinic is near Dubai Media City and Dubai Internet City and he gets a number of patients from professionals in the mass communications and IT sectors. "They are constantly under pressure and unable to sleep," he said.

The survey also showed that 57 per cent of respondents resorted to TV and the internet to relieve their stress instead of hitting the treadmill or taking a walk.

Many also did not know how to calculate their BMI (Body Mass Index) despite knowing that they are overweight. The doctor said the best way to calculate your approximate BMI is to take your height in centimetres and minus 100. For example, if your height is 175 centimeters, you minus 100 from that and that gives you 75. That is the upper limit of your suggested weight (in kilograms).

Dr Samina Khatib, physician with Modern Medical Consultation Centre in Deira, said staying up late nights is a habit in the UAE and that children are the most affected by sleep deprivation.

The doctor said since there are not many play areas, children watch TV or surf the internet and that spoils the sleep pattern.

"You should stop all such activities at least 90 minutes before sleeping [for your body to relax and get to sleep]," she said.

Uchil said most people stretch themselves thin trying to catch up with friends through Facebook and Twitter when they get back home after work.

Khatib said sleep deprivation affects your whole well-being right from raising your blood pressure and sugar levels.

"You will not realise its effects immediately," she said.

Lama Owais, a media coordinator with the Ministry of Health, said she barely gets five hours of sleep every night.

"I am tense most of the time," she said. She goes to sleep at midnight. But that is early for many people who tend to doze off only around 1am.

"The survey showed some interesting findings," said Javeed Farooqui, executive director of Zarca Interactive which conducted the survey.

"There is not much awareness [about good health]."

The survey numbers will be offered to the Ministry of Health and the Dubai Health Authority (DHA) to formulate an index on health trends in the UAE and the GCC, he said.

How long do you sleep on average? Have you tried to adapt your lifestyle to make sure you sleep well?

Comments (13)

  1. Added 17:37 October 2, 2010

    when you work for 10 hours per day with one day off only despite that in our contracts it's mentioning 8 hours as per the rules, so you have to struggle to get 8 hours to sleep

    Che, AUH, United Arab Emirates

  2. Added 17:21 October 2, 2010

    Working hours have to be 7am to 3pm for a better quality of life/sleep.

    moin , Abu dhabi, United Arab Emirates

  3. Added 17:01 October 2, 2010

    It is an issue that has to be looked into. Most companies like mine have long working hours and at the same time work six days a week. This gives us just a day to have time to ourselves and relax. This is definitely not right. People need time to themselves and this will help. I believe when an employee is well rested and relaxed he will be happy and will perform for his company.This is an issue that definitely needs to be looked into by the authorities. Compulsory 2 day weekends and a decent work schedule.

    Anonymous, Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates

  4. Added 16:56 October 2, 2010

    Sleeping problem it is upto the individuals who are themself to blame. Most of them watch long hours TV or seen smoking sheesha outside wasting their life.

    Saqeer S,V, DUBAI, United Arab Emirates

  5. Added 16:00 October 2, 2010

    Notmore than 6.30 hrs

    sree, AbuDhabi, United Arab Emirates

  6. Added 14:53 October 2, 2010

    I think authorities can take a good role in this kind of jobs who are forcing people to work for more than 8 hours without over times. There are many co. who are forcing to work morethan 12 hours + Travelling another 3 Hours,T 0tal of 15 Hours a day. How can one enjoy their lives, when they come from their duties, these peoples they need some entertainment, but they don't get time so they are sleepless? People working in construction field is the majority.

    Sunu, Dubai, United Arab Emirates

  7. Added 14:03 October 2, 2010

    we are talking on how much of time do we need to sleep? at night how many hours do we get to sleep? I do agree with Bernard but all companys cant work till 3 pm right? we can also get good sleep when we on our day offs but there are many people out here who struggle from dusk to dawn with out enjoying the privileges of life.

    Mathew Litty, Dubai, United Arab Emirates

  8. Added 12:26 October 2, 2010

    The working hours should be till 3 pm and you will see a happy and healthy society and all your malls will be full.

    Bernard, Dubai, United Arab Emirates

  9. Added 10:46 October 2, 2010

    I think authorities can take a good role in this kind of jobs who are forcing people to work for more than 8 hours without over times. There are many co. who are forcing and even they have made agreement for 9 to 10 hours which is not shown to labor department and which is illegal. How can one enjoy their lives, when they come from their duties, these peoples they need some entertainment, but they don't get time so they are sleepless?

    al hilal, ajman, United Arab Emirates

  10. Added 07:45 October 2, 2010

    On an average, I can sleep 4-5 hours a night. I completely agree to the above findings and survey about UAE population sleeping pattern. But, my job profile tells me to travelling different time zones, upon arrival I tried to be with my family. Hence ending up with 4-5 of sleeping time. Often I feel sleepy, Fatigue, irritability, insomnia. I am trying to take out some time for some physical activities to energize and get good sleep.

    Zaheed Sayed, Dubai, United Arab Emirates

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