Chinese video-sharing app Kuaishou has recently begun to release livestreams of the reality show Go To Bed At 11 PM (11点睡吧) at 8 PM every Tuesday and Thursday night. The program features high-profile Chinese celebrities and sheds light on the chronic issue of sleep disorders experienced by many Chinese youth today.
As its title suggests, the Kuaishou reality TV show challenges its participants to fall asleep before 11 PM. The slogan, “Don’t be so high, sleep early,” underscores the program’s premise.
In each episode, participants are hooked up to sensors that indicate their sleep state. The show also offers solutions to overcoming the ‘addiction’ to staying up late. Famous faces include K-pop star Huang Zitao, comedian Song Xiaobao, musicians Zhang Qi, Liang Long, and GAI, and actresses Chen Xiaoyun and Huang Shengyi.
It’s clear from the series that most celebrities find it hard to naturally fall asleep before 11 PM.
For example, Song wanders around different rooms, practices calligraphy, and tries other tricks, but fails to fall asleep by 11 PM. Meanwhile, Liang practices pre-bedtime rituals like hydrating his skin with masks, reading, and listening to podcasts. Zhang is the first to achieve his goal, dozing off after a foot massage.
After the challenge, the lead ‘sleeper’ and a team of sleep specialists analyze the different behavior patterns that lead to poor sleep quality, including eating and scrolling on one’s mobile phone before bedtime. They also urge the audience to experiment with different calming methods to fall asleep quickly.
The Go To Bed At 11 PM livestreams, starting at 8 PM every Tuesday and Thursday on the Kuaishou app, have already garnered half a billion views within four episodes and clearly resonate with Chinese youth on social media.
”The only time that belongs to me is the few hours before sleep. It feels like sassy revenge to stay up late,” reads a trending Weibo comment about the show.
According to a 36Kr report from 2021, ‘revenge bedtime procrastination’ (报复性熬夜) is only one of many reasons that Chinese youth lose sleep. Based on a sample of 2,293 Chinese people from the 1980s to the 2000s generation, statistics show that more than half of the subjects regularly go to sleep after midnight.
“My head has a built-in theater. Many things that happened in the past or that I worry might happen in the future continuously play in this theater,” confesses a survey participant.
The report cites high emotional pressure, digital device addiction, and intense workload as the top three reasons Chinese youth go to sleep late.
The Covid-19 pandemic has only exacerbated the situation, causing more than 300 million Chinese people to suffer from sleep disorders.
Huge demand has fueled the market for products that allegedly promote quality sleep, including aromatherapy, meditation apps, melatonin pills, and high-quality eye pads.
According to Tianyancha (天眼查), sleep-related startups have increased by 62% over the last five years in China.
Indeed, this generation of Chinese youth has shifted their focus from financial freedom to sleep freedom, although we posit that the two are somewhat related.
All images via Kuaishou