Universiti Malaya deputy vice-chancellor (Student Affairs) Professor Dr Abdul Aziz Abdul Raman (third row, fourth from left) with the organising committee and participants of the ‘Jom Tidur’ campaign at Perdana Siswa Complex in the university. -NSTP/Rohanis Shukri.

UNIVERSITY students may skimp on sleep for various reasons without putting much thought into it.

Little do they know that sleep deprivation and poor sleep quality can be detrimental to their health.

This is how the idea behind the "Jom Tidur" campaign came about.

Universiti Malaya (UM) Student Health Clinic head Dr Mohazmi Mohamed said: “It all started when I found that many students have been coming to the clinic complaining of health problems ranging from headaches and heart palpitations.

“Upon further examination, most of the problems are caused by a lack of sleep.”

Dr Mohazmi added: “This is a significant issue among university students. When we asked them why they couldn’t sleep, the reasons range from assignments to video game addiction.

“Inadequate sleep will make them feel extremely tired during the day and make them prone to skipping class or lose focus. This will in turn affect their academic performance. Not only that, the lack of sleep can indirectly affect the students’ mental health.

“We decided to organise this campaign at the start of the new semester so that students can be aware from the beginning on how to manage their sleep.”

Spearheaded by the UM Student Health Clinic and the Student Affairs Division (BHEP) in collaboration with the Student Representative Council (MPP), the "Jom Tidur" campaign was held at Perdana Siswa Complex in the university today.

The key objectives of the inaugural sleep and health campaign include spreading awareness on sleep health and educating students to practise good sleeping habits.

The campaign was launched by UM deputy vice-chancellor (Student Affairs) Professor Dr Abdul Aziz Abdul Raman.

Abdul Aziz said in his speech: “The Counseling Unit in the Student Affairs Division provides support and counseling programs for students in need. Students can also come to the UM Student Health Clinic for counseling services for any problems including sleep disorders.”

In his talk about sleep health, University of Malaya Medical Centre clinical psychiatrist Associate Professor Dr Rusdi Abdul Rashid highlighted the importance of sleep.

“Sleeping is vital for brain cell regeneration and memory consolidation. After studying during the day, you need to have quality sleep to retain the new information that you have learned.

He also shed light on the main causes of sleep problems.

“Firstly, those who face trouble falling asleep may have underlying psychiatric illness such as depression. There are also people who are affected by a disturbance in the sleep-wake cycle.

“Another worrying cause is the substance-induced sleep disorder. As a psychiatrist, I have met students who take drugs, more specifically stimulants such as Methamphetamine in order to stay awake to study or do revision. This can lead to hazardous health consequences.”

Also present during the event was programme director Dr Nurmasitah Mohamad Nazri.