Sat, Mar 05, 2011 - Page 2 News List

Taiwan is short of sleep therapists, specialist says

A GOOD NIGHT’S SLEEP:Despite an increasing number of people with sleep disorders, patients often have to wait more than a week to get help

Staff Writer, with CNA

Want ideas on how to get a better night’s sleep?

Yang Chien-ming (楊建銘), a psychology professor at National Chengchi University, thinks more and more Taiwanese are asking this question, but not enough doctors and researchers are answering the call.

“There are many different doctors that take care of our body when we are awake, but not many who have an interest in what happens to our body when we fall asleep,” Yang said at a press conference yesterday prior to the International Sleep Symposium in Taipei this weekend.

Yang said this was unfortunate, because a growing number of people in Taiwan experience sleep disorders and insomnia.

“Sleep research is a relatively new field of study in Taiwan, but there is already a shortage of sleep therapists in clinics and hospitals,” Yang said.

Yang said some patients have to wait more than a week to see a doctor at a sleep clinic.

To solve this problem, Yang would like to see more Taiwanese doctors and researchers integrate their knowledge of the study of sleep.

For instance, Hsu Ya-chuan (徐雅娟), a graduate student at National Yang-Ming University and one of the few sleep researchers in the country, looks at the impact of 30-minute naps on the nervous system.

By studying the napping habits of 22 male university students aged 20 to 30, she found that if someone with a regular, afternoon napping pattern suddenly changes their nap habits, it could cause a disturbance in their nervous system, affecting work performance and emotions for the rest of the afternoon.

Hsu said the results of her research could serve as a guide for companies, schools and individuals on whether to support regular napping sessions.

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