Sleep is an important physiological need for humans,
but a sleep study conducted by SpaChina on 200 people between the ages of
20 and 50 found that the quality of sleep among young people in China is very worrying
The high speed of urbanization has resulted in a new sleep rhythm. Since 1999, the urbanization rate has increased by roughly 10 percentage points per year, reaching 65% in 2020, and almost all major cities have dense networks of highways and subways, operating over 3,000 km. Behind all these remarkable figures is the fact that everyone is getting busier, commuting times are getting longer, and the cities are getting noisier at night. A result of the high-speed economic development is an obvious reduction of sleep time, with more and more people suffering from sleep disorders.
Now in the post-pandemic era, SpaChina carried out a survey on sleep hours and sleep quality. The data shows that the average sleep hours per person per day is only 6.6, with only 27% of the people saying that they have enjoyed deep sleep.
72% of the respondents say they play with their smart phones one hour before sleep, and 58% of the respondents stay up late more than three times a week, and 52% of them, mainly in the post-90s, post-95s and post-00s groups, choose to stay up willingly and actively. Also, 21% of the respondents are suffering from insomnia.
Insomnia caused by emotional problems and life stress
The research also shows that the anxiety caused by the pressure of work and life make the respondents all have a kind of “bedtime procrastination”. 76% of them fall asleep after 11 pm and 34% of them after midnight. People aged between 40 and 50 are most anxious about their sleep quality, yet their sleep time is still 0.2 hours longer than the post-90s and post-00s.
Urbanization has led to the migration of a large number of people from the third or fourth-tier cities to the first or second-tier cities. What follows is a sense of loneliness and a lack of security. The more they try to find success in the big cities, the greater the pressure they experience. For example, they take the initiative to work overtime and stay on call 24 hours a day. They are also worried about the future of their children, hoping that they can enter better schools so that their lives may be changed. Thus, depression and emotional problems become the biggest factors for sleep disorders.
According to the survey, 62% of the respondents suffer sleep disorders due to emotional factors, 59% due to stress of life, 52% due to work pressure, 34% due to physiological reasons, 25% due to disturbing environment and poor bedding quality and 18% say they suffer insomnia just because of their fear of not being able to fall asleep. Among them, many also complain that frequent business trips break their regular sleep patterns and they are unable to have a sound sleep at hotels.
Women sleep on average 15-20 minutes more than men. People in first and second-tier cities sleep 30-40 minutes less than those in third and fourth-tier cities.
People who stay up willingly
Among young people under 30 years old, more and more choose to stay up late. 36% of them stay up late because they are not willing to put aside their mobile phones. 28% fail to sleep enough because they often go out at night for parties. And 12% love to run and do sports at night.
SpaChina understands that insomnia and sleep disorders among people aged between 20 and 30 are not necessarily caused by personal issues. In fact, the changes in social and life patterns drive many young people to follow a so-called “fashionable and energetic lifestyle”. The younger they are, the longer they stay up. As a result, young people’s sleeping hours is getting shorter and shorter, and the quality is getting worse and worse.
Sleep disorders among Chinese young people
Urbanization and the development of the Internet have broken the traditional work-rest pattern and changed the urban sleep system. The pursuit for so-called “freedom” increasingly make young Chinese people “more freestyled in choosing when to sleep”. And this has led to more sleep disorders. They are used to playing or chatting on cell phones at night for a long time or going to parties, which completely violate the human biological clock.
The post-60s and 70s groups are convinced that, according to traditional Chinese medicine, 11pm is the golden time for the liver to detox, and one must have already fallen asleep at the time. For the younger generation, however, it is just the beginning of a wonderful nightlife. They set their own rules according to their individual habits. Young people today no longer follow the law of nature, but the trends of the time. For instance, the most popular live broadcasts supported by internet celebrities and KOLs usually begin at 7pm and last until 2-4 am.
However, the research also shows that 79% of respondents are highly concerned about sleep problems, and people’s desire to improve sleep quality is getting stronger. 67% of the respondents say they have bought sleep-aid products, of which 62% are the post-90s. Although the post-90s stay up late the most, they also show a higher sense of anxiety about sleep problems.
The generation of punk-wellness
Taobao released the “The Life Saving Guide for Post-90s” after the 12.12 shopping of the year 2020. The post-90s have more anxieties concerning their health conditions, and their purchase of health and wellness related products on Taobao and Tmall is rising, which has become an essential part of their daily expenses.
From “wolfberry coffee”, “fear to check medical report”, to today’s “lifesaving guide”, all seems quite self-mocking. The post-90s’ way of keeping health is truly puzzling. On one hand, they enjoy themselves with an indulgent lifestyle, and meanwhile they compensate by buying the most expensive health care products, while not forgetting to mock themselves: “I will use the most expensive mask, and stay up the longest night”. Such “punk wellness” is becoming more and more popular among young people in China.
Young people mock themselves in such a way probably because of fear. All kinds of news about the dangers of staying up late in fact make the post-90s quite worried. Perhaps, they know deep in their hearts that such “punk-wellness” is self-deceiving. However, since they have got used to such unhealthy lifestyles, most of them choose to become purposely blind to the results. They would rather to buy the products which offer to improve health than to actively change their lifestyles. So they keep mocking themselves, deceiving themselves, and show little willingness to stand up and make a change.
The important thing is that the young people in China today have to learn “self-discipline”. The freedom resulting from “self-discipline” is much more valuable than “do everything you want in an indulgent way”. We hope that the post-90s and post-00s people in China can pay more attention to their health and be more willing to embrace healthy lifestyles.