Report finds 7.4 million Aussies suffer from inadequate sleep

Millions are failing to get the sleep they need to live healthy, happy lives.

Two in five Aussies sleep deprived

Millions are failing to get the sleep they need to live healthy, happy lives, according to a Sleep Health Foundation report released today.

It estimated 7.4 million Australians routinely missed out on adequate shut-eye in the 2016-2017 financial year, at a cost to the nation of $66 billion.

“This lack of sleep had harmful effects on everyday function and exacerbated health conditions from heart disease and stroke, through to diabetes and depression in tens of thousands of Australians,” said Professor Dorothy Bruck, chair of the Sleep Health Foundation, which commissioned the report.

“On top of this, it claimed the lives of more than 3000 people. The cost of sleep deprivation is utterly alarming and confirms we need to take urgent action to put sleep on the national agenda.”

The report found two out of every five Australians are suffering from inadequate sleep.

Half of these people experience ongoing pathologically high levels of daytime sleepiness, Prof Bruck said. The rest know that their sleep is routinely insufficient because they can’t function at normal levels of alertness, concentration and emotional control.

“This clearly shows that we have an epidemic of disabling sleep loss affecting a large chunk of our population,” the sleep psychologist said. “Put simply, we have 7.4 million Australians who are not getting the sleep they need to fully function throughout the day.”

The results are especially concerning when considered alongside new research suggesting sleep is vital in allowing each cell, in every organ of the body, to continue to function.

The report puts the financial cost of sleeplessness at $26.2 billion a year. This includes a health bill of $1.8 billion and lost productivity costs of $17.9 billion and loss of wellbeing cost of $40.1 billion. Despite this, the authors found governments gave little attention to the area.

“Sleep – or rather the lack of it – is a substantial burden on our economy and the livelihood of Australians, dampening mood, exacerbating health problems, dulling our productivity and making us a danger on the roads and in workplaces around the country,” Prof Bruck said.

“As these results show, it’s time governments gave sleep the policy airtime it deserves to get our citizens sleeping better and longer.”

The report calls for a carefully-worded public education campaign around sleep.

“Australians are not prioritising sleep. They think it’s tradeable for waking time, which it most definitely is not. Re-educating people could have powerful results,” she said.

 Any campaign would be wise to include warnings around the use of blue light emitted from computers, tablets and phones at night, the report states.

“That light wreaks havoc on your body clock and is the reason many people struggle to get to sleep at night after sending emails or watching a movie on their laptop.”

The report also calls for more policy-driven research on the causes of sleep disorders as well as better prevention, early detection and cost-effective treatment options for people who can’t nod off.

Do you suffer from insomnia or other sleeping disorders? Do you think the Government should do more to address sleep deprivation?




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    8th Aug 2017
    the government should do more about sleep issues. make sleep apnoea diagnosis /treatments affordable /accessible for pensioners etc. i suffer with both obstructice sleep apnoea and central and the cost of equipment WOW > I suffer with lack of sleep as a carer of two adults 24/7 depression etc
    Old Geezer
    8th Aug 2017
    Too many people stress too much over sleep these days. I sleep if I am tired enough if not I just do something else.
    8th Aug 2017
    That would indicate that no one is putting any demands on your sleep. My country town starts buzzing at 6 a.m. I thought this was the norm until I stayed at my daughter's house who is situated 1 hour closer to the employment hub. Her suburb was quiet until 7.00 a.m.
    I fear all our long distance commuters really are missing out on vital sleep.
    8th Aug 2017
    Granddad died peacefully in his sleep yesterday. Unfortunately the rest of the passengers in his car died screaming as he speared off the cliff! :)... and its not even Friday.

    8th Aug 2017
    $66 Billion cost to the economy
    Where do these idiots come up with such numbers
    If a person isn't productive at work he /she gets sacked
    Of unless you're a politician or work in public service
    8th Aug 2017
    Its interesting that the medical profession are making this comment. The medical profession is probably one of the worst when it comes to regulating how many hours they work continuously. Its almost like a badge of honour.
    My concern is that tiredness does cause errors so I would rather they went home and got 8 hours sleep.
    19th Aug 2017
    and trust i have seen many doctors who also may be lacking in sleep, and are not very productive, it just makes me wonder how they are even looking after their patients if this is the case.
    cause one time i went into to see my doctor, and he couldn't even comprehend the question i ask him, and i didn't get an answer, and yes we both speak english!
    NO fresh air to breath in, brain don't wanna work didn't sleep. What the hells going ON in this world. Its all gone to pot?

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