Are we doing enough to combat sleep deprivation in Australia?

It is all too common for us to take sleep for granted and on a national scale, sleep deprivation is becoming a problem. What you may not realise is that not getting a full night’s sleep can have detrimental effects on your health that goes beyond having a sluggish day.

It is becoming a national issue

A recent inquiry into the population’s sleeping habits commissioned by the Federal Government has found that lack of sleep is becoming a social epidemic in Australia due to a number of factors including a cultural acceptance of being tired.

The reality is that sleep deprivation does harm — in some cases with very serious consequences. 

Sleep deprivation is having devastating effects on our health

Sleeplessness caused by regular sleep deprivation or disorders can have serious health impacts. Untreated sleep disorders can contribute to the possible development of typical lifestyle diseases such as Type II diabetes and can increase the risk of the development of cardiovascular health problems including high blood pressure, stroke, and heart disease as well as weight gain.

One study conducted by the Adelaide Institute of Sleep Health found that after five nights of consistent bad sleep, a 20-year-old man may suffer a temporary reduction in testosterone, "as though he has aged a decade".

What can we do for the future?

Recommendations from the Committee have included the extension of Medicare coverage to providing easy access and affordable diagnostic tests for sleep disorders by the Australian Government to reduce the level of undiagnosed sufferers.

The inquiry also recommended the implementation of a national education campaign to increase community awareness about the need for healthy sleep patterns. It has been highlighted that there is a need to educate people on how modern life factors such as the use of digital devices before bed can disrupt sleep patterns and prevent the body from falling into the deeper stages of sleep.

To read the inquiry in full, click here.

If you are experiencing recurring nights of poor sleep, consult with your pharmacist to seek appropriate relief from sleep deprivation.

Adam Shakespeare