The Jakarta Post
Some 28 million Indonesians, roughly 10 percent of the population, face trouble falling asleep, experts said during Monday’s discussion, citing numerous studies by a variety of organizations. (Shutterstock/File)
Many Indonesians might not realize that sleeping disorders and mental health are intertwined.
Triggered by hectic, unhealthy lifestyles, life pressures and excessive use of computers and mobile phones, insomnia was common in modern societies, experts at a recent forum argued.
“Stress and depression can cause trouble sleeping, while a lack of sleep also makes people more mentally vulnerable and emotionally reactive,” clinical psychologist Aurora Lumbantoruan said on Monday during a discussion to commemorate World Sleep Day, which falls on March 16.
“People who suffer from insomnia have trouble falling asleep or staying asleep. Some insomniacs also fall asleep without the restorative quality, meaning they still feel tired and sleepy even after a long sleep,” she said.
Some 28 million Indonesians, roughly 10 percent of the population, face trouble falling asleep, experts said during Monday’s discussion, citing numerous studies by a variety of organizations.
The issues discussed on Monday reflect the daily life of Monica Anggraini Dewi, a 27-year-old startup employee living in Bali, who has had trouble falling asleep for almost five years.
“Since graduating from university, I only have around two hours sleep every night,” she told The Jakarta Post. “Without enough sleep, I become moody and depressed the next day.”
Monica said anxiety and bad memories would plague her mind whenever she was ready to go to sleep, making her afraid of going to bed.
“During the day I appear like a cheerful girl and smile to everyone I meet. However, I still have bad thoughts in the back my mind, and all those bad thoughts come to me when I’m alone in bed at night,” she said, declining to describe her traumatic past.
But Monica has opted not to seek professional help. To help her fall asleep, she instead started taking an over-the-counter medicine called Antimo, which contains dimenhydrinate and is used to treat motion sickness.
“I take a tablet of Antimo every night before sleeping. If in the middle of the night I wake up, I take another one. Otherwise, I won’t be able to get the sleep I need,” she said.
In 2016, Monica started taking gym classes to help cut down on her medicine consumption.
“If I work out, I get tired and go straight to sleep. If I don’t have time to go to the gym, I go back to Antimo,” she said.
Kadenza Indratmo, a 23-year-old civil servant in Jakarta, also suffers from stress-related insomnia.
“Often I stay awake until my alarm goes off. To help me function during the day after a sleepless night I have to take the time to have a little conversation with my friends at work. After meeting people I can get rid of my anxieties,” she said.
Unlike Monica, Kadenza has sought help from a psychologist to deal with her past. Another strategy she employs is meeting up with her friends regularly to help her stay cheerful, as loneliness triggers her sadness.
“If I don’t hang out with my friends I have to drink alcohol to quiet my thoughts,” she said.
A 2016 study by Nurmiati Amir from the mental health department of Cipto Mangunkusumo Hospital (RSCM) found that recurring insomnia could lead people to resort to drug and alcohol abuse to help them fall asleep.
Actors and comedians Tora Sudiro and Mieke Amalia were arrested in 2017 for possession of 30 tablets of Dumolid. The two said they had consumed the pills for a year to help them sleep.
“If sleep problems persist for more than two weeks, a person should seek professional help,” Aurora said.
She also advised insomniacs to keep a journal to gain control of their emotions, which would help them avoid resorting to alcohol and other substances.
People, Aurora added, should also stop looking at computer and cellphone screens in the hours approaching bed time. “Checking information updates forces our brains to stay awake, which makes it difficult to fall asleep,” she said. (gis)