Poor sleep kills more than 3000 Australians each year. From workplace and road accidents to physical and mental health issues, lack of sleep is a serious topic that has serious side effects. In fact, a study by the Sleep Health Foundation found that one in five people confess to having nodded off while driving, and the number of sleep-related health issues has risen by 10 per cent since 2010.
Deloitte Access Economics found that more than seven million people don’t get enough sleep. On Average, Australians get 6.5 hours of sleep a night, but a study published in the medical journal Sleep found that six hours or less of sleep could be just as bad as not sleeping at all.
Lack of proper sleep can lead to lower productivity and increase your risk of diabetes, stroke, heart disease, obesity and depression. The Sleep Health Foundation goes so far as to suggest Australia is in the grip of a sleep deprivation epidemic that is putting our collective safety at risk and damaging our mental health.
The recommended amount of nightly sleep is 7.5 to 8 hours, but the Sleep Health Foundation reports that 44 per cent of adults use the internet on a digital device just before bed each night, and that 17 per cent of adults are doing work-related tasks just before bed a few nights a week. The foundation loosely refers to the findings as the ‘effects of the 24/7 society’, and says that such behaviour is resulting in sleeping difficulties that contribute to the sleep deprivation epidemic sweeping Australia.
The result is 1 in 3 Australians suffering from jet lag, and not the kind that can be blamed on a long-haul flight.
“That’s a large chunk of our population whose body clocks are out of alignment, a problem known to negatively impact health and wellbeing,” says Professor Robert Adams, the study’s lead researcher and sleep specialist with the University of Adelaide and the Sleep Health Foundation. "These findings serve to further illustrate the widespread problem of insufficient sleep in our country and indicate an urgent need for a national inquiry to relieve our sleep loss epidemic.”
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