40 per cent of S'poreans not sleeping enough? Not really

The study by SingHealth Polyclinics gives us a lot of useful information and raises some important questions ("More than 40% of Singaporeans not clocking enough sleep on weekdays: SingHealth Polyclinics study"; ST Online, Jan 10).

We cannot, however, conclude from the study that more than 40 per cent of Singaporeans are not getting enough sleep on weekdays.

The study's sample demographic - 350 adults at two polyclinics - is not representative of Singaporeans.

There are people who do not visit polyclinics, such as those who go to private general practitioners.

Patients at polyclinics may also have acute or chronic health issues, which could influence their sleeping habits.

Hence, the actual proportion of Singaporeans who do not get enough sleep on weekdays could be different from that reported in the study.

A difference was also noted in sleeping habits among respondents of different ethnicities.

But there are other underlying factors at play, which makes ethnicity not a statistically significant predictor.

Nevertheless, it highlights the complex relationship between ethnicity, socioeconomic factors and health.

I do not doubt that lack of sleep is a significant problem in our society today.

However, the media should be more measured in how it interprets and reports study results, so readers get a more accurate and informed perspective.

Ihtimam Hossain