Weekend Gold Coast Bulletin

SLEEPLESS NIGHTS TAKE A TOLL

- SOPHIE HANSON

Most of us know from experience how poorly a long period of bad sleep patterns can affect us. A new study suggests the damage begins after day one.

About one third of Australian­s over the age of 18 are not getting the minimum hours of slumber required – between seven to nine every night.

Prolonged sleep deprivatio­n can have numerous physical and psychologi­cal effects, from weight gain to depression.

A new study has suggested that even just one instance of a poor night’s sleep can do damage to our wellbeing.

The study involved 2000 middle-aged, relatively healthy adults being tasked with recording their mental and physical behaviours in a diary for eight consecutiv­e days.

Forty-two per cent of the participan­ts had at least one night of sleep loss and reported feeling a build-up of angry, nervous, lonely and irritable feelings as a result.

They also reported experienci­ng upper respirator­y issues, body aches, and other health concerns – and the biggest jump in the accrual of such symptoms was after the first night of sleep loss.

Mental and physical wellbeing only showed an improvemen­t after the participan­ts had a night of sleep that lasted more than six hours.

“Many of us think that we can pay our sleep debt on weekends and be more productive on weekdays,” lead author Soomi Lee, assistant professor from the School of Aging Studies at the University of South Florida, says.

Lee previously investigat­ed the connection between a lack of sleep and job performanc­e in a 2019 study that found losing 16 minutes could be the difference between a clear head or one foggy and filled with distractio­ns the next day.

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