Online community of night owls find support for their sleep disorders

Updated 2018-05-14 17:52:14 Xinhua

Zhang Fan, 29, has a 1arge following for sharing his sleeping issues on mobile phone app Snail Sleep.

"These days, I think I sleep better than before, as there are less audio recordings of my sleeping problems, on average around 10 recordings per night of grinding my teeth, snoring, or sleep talking," said Zhang, who works for an internet firm in China's e-commerce hub of Hangzhou, capital of Zhejiang Province.

He said his audio uploads sometimes receive up to 2,000 likes and comments.

The app, which has 20 million registered users, provides an online platform for sharing and commenting on sleep issues and audio recordings. Zhang said he has found friends who share similar sleeping problems via the platform.

Chen Yunjie, 33, from Beijing, has found that computer programmers like himself are prone to suffering from irregular sleep patterns, resulting from stress at work.

He has been in the community of night owls using the app for two years.

"Sleep talking reflects the true inner world. This community makes me feel relaxed about my sleeping problems," he said.

Abby Chen, marketing director of the app developer, said since March, there have been about 3 million active users on the platform, who generally become active from 11 p.m. to 1 a.m. and then 6 a.m. to 8 a.m.

She said the platform includes sleep-inducing music and offers services for users to contact sleep and psychological counselors.

Launched in 2015, the app has already begun to earn profits from ads, membership fees, and paid music.

Chen said one user told her that when he heard a recording of himself crying during his sleep, he became aware that he was not as strong as he seemed during the day.

Wang Ping, a researcher at the sociology institute of Zhejiang Provincial Academy of Social Sciences, said the app's sleep community shows that mobile phones now accompany a large group of people when they

sleep, especially those aged under 44.

Over 90 percent of registered users of the Snail Sleep app are aged under 40.

Chen said as the platform has gathered such a large group of people with sleeping problems, it offers important data for studies and analysis to find solutions for conditions such as insomnia. The company has begun to earn revenue from sharing data from the app for research and cooperation with private companies.

She said the company has plans to explore overseas markets, both in directly selling smart sleep monitoring devices and launching similar sleeping apps.

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