We’re a zombie nation
Our chronic lack of sleep costing $36 billion a year
CHRONIC lack of sleep is creating a nation of zombies and costing $36 billion a year.
The epidemic of sleeplessness is responsible for road deaths, workplace accidents, loss of productivity, failure at school and life-threatening medical conditions ranging from depression to Type 2 Diabetes and heart disease.
One-in-three Australians, from time poor families to teenage “screen addicts”, do not get enough rest.
And the startling numbers are increasing Adolescents are the most sleep-deprived group at 80 per cent, but almost half of primary school children do not get enough rest. Up to 45 per cent of adults need more shut-eye, too.
Analysis by Deloitte Access Economics found poor sleep is a factor in more than 10 per cent of depression cases, 5.3 per cent of stroke cases, 4.5 per cent of workplace injuries and 4.3 per cent of motor vehicle accidents. The Medibank Better Health Index has revealed the “incidence of anxiety, depression and stress is twice as high among those suffering from sleep disorders”.
The data shows those affected by sleep disorders also have a higher Body Mass Index than the general population and are found to be less likely to exercise. “No matter what age you are fatigue and sleepiness can affect how well you think, react, work and get along with others,” Medibank medical adviser Dr Sue Abhary said.
Internationally recognised sleep expert Dr Carmel Harrington said Australians “forget that sleep is a fundamental part of our wellbeing”.
“A major concern is people’s attitude towards sleep despite being aware they aren’t getting enough,” Dr Harrington said. “They say, ‘I’ll sleep when I’m dead’, because they have too many more important things to do.”
Centre for Road Safety executive director Bernard Carlon said “being awake for 17 hours has a similar effect as blood alcohol (reading) above the legal limit.” “Crashes due to tiredness are twice as likely to be fatal simply because drivers who are asleep can’t brake,” he said.