Fa­tal not to get 40 winks

Warwick Daily News - - HEALTHY LIVING - SHAN­NON MOLLOY

AUS­TRALIANS aren’t get­ting nearly enough sleep each night — and it’s slowly killing us.

Ex­perts have warned of the ma­jor health, so­cial and eco­nomic con­se­quences of in­ad­e­quate sleep, say­ing many peo­ple are suf­fer­ing a kind of per­ma­nent jet lag as a re­sult.

It also leads to lower pro­duc­tiv­ity and can in­crease the risk of se­ri­ous ill­nesses such as di­a­betes, stroke, heart dis­ease, obe­sity and de­pres­sion.

And the Sleep Health Foun­da­tion es­ti­mates poor sleep claims the lives of 3000 peo­ple a year.

“The cost of sleep de­pri­va­tion is ut­terly alarm­ing and con­firms we need to take ur­gent ac­tion to put sleep on the na­tional agenda,” the foun­da­tion’s chair Pro­fes­sor Dorothy Bruck said.

Re­search by Deloitte Ac­cess Eco­nom­ics in 2017 found more than seven mil­lion peo­ple don’t get enough shut-eye, with a cost to the econ­omy of $66 bil­lion.

“The num­bers are big, the per­sonal and na­tional costs are big, and their con­se­quences should not be ig­nored,” Pro­fes­sor Bruck said.

On av­er­age, Aus­tralians get 6.5 hours of sleep a night, but 12 per cent clock up 5.5 hours or less.

Up to 45 per cent of peo­ple have poor sleep pat­terns and the num­ber of health is­sues caused has risen by up to 10 per cent since 2010.

Some of the com­mon causes of lack of sleep in­clude stress, dis­or­ders like sleep ap­noea, life­style fac­tors and the use of screened de­vices in the bed­room.

Dr David Hill­man, a di­rec­tor at the Sleep Health Foun­da­tion, said ex­treme lack of sleep was on the same par as smok­ing when it came to pub­lic health con­se­quences.

“Just like obe­sity, smok­ing, drink­ing too much and not ex­er­cis­ing enough, sleep prob­lems cause real harm in our com­mu­nity,” he said.

Among the var­i­ous po­ten­tial im­pli­ca­tions are car­dio­vas­cu­lar dis­ease, obe­sity and men­tal ill­ness. Sleep de­pri­va­tion can also im­pair cog­ni­tion, caus­ing mem­ory loss and lower con­cen­tra­tion, with re­search find­ing one in five peo­ple say they’ve nod­ded off while driv­ing.

The Univer­sity of Cal­i­for­nia study, pub­lished in the jour­nal Na­ture Com­mu­ni­ca­tions, found a lack of sleep is as­so­ci­ated with so­cial with­drawal.

“When eval­u­ated on psy­cho­log­i­cal tests of so­cia­bil­ity, sleep-de­prived sub­jects avoided other peo­ple and sleep de­pri­va­tion led to hy­per­sen­si­tiv­ity in brain re­gions that warn of hu­man ap­proach,” re­searchers found.

Photo: iStock

LETHAL CON­SE­QUENCES: It’s es­ti­mated poor sleep claims the lives of 3000 peo­ple a year.

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