Singaporeans clock in some of the lowest average hours of sleep globally, with most reporting an average of 6.4 hours' sleep per night, well below the recommended 7-9 hours by the National Sleep Foundation. 

The recent ‘How ‘Well’ Are We?’ report by PURE Group found that only 17% of the 1,000 respondents say they clock a full 8 or 9 hours of rest while about one in five (19%) got an average of five hours’ sleep a night or less.

The most common reason as to why sleep is evading Singaporeans is stress, while 35% of Singaporeans attributed their lack of sleep to their immediate environment - namely things like television, social media and partners’ sleeping habits. 

Interestingly, during the Circuit Breaker period, there was a slight dip in stress and an increase in those getting the recommended 8-9 hours of sleep per night. However, there was also a dip in those who regularly achieve 6-7 hours per night - the most common answer from the research.

Work-related stress is the most common type of stress affecting Singaporeans

Work-related stress is the most common type of stress affecting 58% of respondents followed by financial stress, relationship issues and other health-related issues.

By gender, men were more likely to experience work-related stress, with 65% of male respondents reporting it as their biggest issue. Whereas, women were more likely to experience relationship stress (37%), with 48% of those being in the 18-24-year-old age range. 

Across both stress and sleep, younger Singaporeans are most affected with the majority being between 18 to 44 years of age. This number starts to decline as people age, so respondents aged 45 and above have reported lower incidences of stress. Apart from stress, long working hours and associated mood disorders also serve as barriers to sleep.

Burnout and sleep deprivation are intimately connected and according to PURE Group's findings in 2019, 24% of Singaporeans surveyed experienced work-related burnout with 73% of those admitting to poor quality sleep. Notably, 46% felt they need to “drag themselves” to work and 33% struggle with difficulty concentrating on tasks, leaving them to feel cynical or critical about their jobs. At the same time, 41% claimed to have experienced chronic fatigue.

Apart from not getting enough rest at night, Singaporeans are also not giving themselves adequate rest during the day. About two thirds (64%) admitted they don’t take regular breaks during a normal workday (prior to COVID-19).

Nearly half (46%) say this is due to pressure to get more work done, while others simply prefer to leave work early or on time. When people do take breaks, it’s usually to have lunch - although 22% also admit they actually prefer to eat at their desks.

During Circuit Breaker, people are still not taking regular breaks (62%), with fewer people taking a lunch break at home, but more choosing to take a mid-afternoon break. More people (46%) say they are trying to finish work earlier, while fewer (36%) are feeling the pressure to get work done - likely because they’re not in an office environment.

Other notable findings from the survey include: 

  • 39% of respondents feel they are equipped to handle issues on their own or feel they lack the resources to seek professional help.
  • More than 50% of Singaporeans are unclear on how to ask for help or unsure of its effectiveness.
  • Fewer people were satisfied with their health and wellness during the Circuit Breaker period (65%, as compared with 71% in 2019).
  • 1 in 5 reported mental health issues during Circuit Breaker, especially among the 25-34 age group.

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