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    Aug 21, 2014

    Singapore, the city that barely sleeps

    JUST like their parents, the current generation of working adults here spend long hours in the office, working their way up the career ladder. But, unlike them, their day hardly ends there.

    A recent study by Jawbone shows that Singapore is among the cities where people grab the least amount of sleep in the world, clocking an average of just six hours and 32 minutes a day.

    Tokyo takes the dubious honour of being the city where people sleep the least - snoozing for just five hours and 46 minutes per night on average. South Korea trails slightly behind at five hours and 55 minutes.

    The research tracked users of a digitised wristband that monitors sleep and movement.

    A separate study had found that Singaporeans put in some of the longest hours among developed countries - an average of 2,287 hours a year.

    While long working hours play a part, it is what Singaporeans choose to do after office hours that deprives them of sleep.

    The scenarios differ, but the result is the same. Some choose to hit the trendiest clubs in town, others use after hours to spend quality time with their loved ones, and some opt to do the most mundane of things, like painting their nails.

    While their pursuits after work are individual, all of them take hours to fulfil. And these hours are snatched by cutting down on sleep.

    For lawyer Anna Tan, 26, it is this "me time" that she treasures, and it is not hard to see why, when she averages 13-hour work days.

    "I will just lie on my sofa and reply the string of text messages I missed throughout the day, sometimes pampering myself with a face mask," she said.

    "It is a luxury for me whenever I have this pocket of spare time and I don't want to waste it by going straight to sleep."

    Valerie Lee, 31, told My Paper that staying up late is a lifestyle choice. Even though the auditor ends work around 8pm during non-peak periods, she rarely heads home.

    Instead, you can find her at the most popular bars in the city area or in a jam-packed club with friends.

    "I value having a social life and having time to hang out with my friends," she said. "It is really the only time we are all free."

    Another reason highlighted by those interviewed was to spend time with their family.

    "There is hardly any time to talk in the morning, when we are all rushing to work, and as my mother works shifts, she reaches home at only 10pm," said tax assistant Rebecca Chan, 24.

    Erman Tan, president of the Singapore Human Resources Institute, said long hours have always been a part of Singapore's work culture. However, young adults now are more concerned about doing other things in life, as well.

    The older generation believed in sacrificing their time for a better future, he said.

    "Now, the young adults work just as hard in the office, but they also work hard to maintain a life outside of work."