Australia is in the grip of a sleep deprivation epidemic that is dragging down the nation’s productivity, risking safety and damaging mental health, a new national sleep study has revealed.
Research led by the University of Adelaide’s Professor Robert Adams for the Sleep Health Foundation has found more than a third of adults sleep either poorly or not long enough most nights.
“The result is a less productive, less safe and less pleasant work and family environment,” says Dr David Hillman, a Director of the Foundation.
“Accident risk goes up, workplace performance goes down and your mood, your heart and your blood pressure can all be affected.”
Dr Hillman is also concerned about night-time computer use, saying a high percentage of late night workers, web surfers, movie watchers or online gamers have sleep problems. “This habit is having a direct and very negative impact on sleep and without a cohesive national strategy to combat it, this won’t change,” he says.
While individuals can make lifestyle changes to help get a better night’s sleep, the problem is now so widespread and insidious that only a larger approach can turn things around.
“We need a fundamental change in the way sleep is viewed by everyone from teenagers, parents and teachers through to bosses, doctors and our top politicians,” Dr Hillman says.
Read more about the findings of the sleep study here. Story credit: Adelaide University newsroom.
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