Health problems linked to poor sleep and tips for good night’s shut-eye
A THIRD of West Australians are tossing, turning and snoring their way towards devastating health conditions including heart disease, cancer and obesity.
The revelation, contained in the Health Department’s annual report into the health and wellbeing of adults, comes three weeks after the Commonwealth Government announced a national inquiry into the causes, impacts and costs of poor sleep.
A survey of 6000 people in WA aged over 16 found they averaged 7.1 hours of sleep a night last year with 32.1 per cent falling short of the minimum recommended seven hours of shut eye for adults.
Director of the University of WA Centre for Sleep Science Peter Eastwood said the findings were “a huge worry” and that governments around the world were only just waking up to the consequences of poor sleep.
“For decades this has been a hidden problem in society but it is massive,” Professor Eastwood said. “Not sleeping properly has now proven to put you at a higher risk of cardiovascular disease, obesity, diabetes, cancer, dementia and mental illness.
“We also know that poor sleep results is a big contributor to workplace injuries and sleep apnoea is a factor in a huge number of motor vehicle accidents. Not getting enough sleep has all these effects but it is only recently that their magnitude has been appreciated.”
A Deloitte report, commissioned by the Sleep Health Foundation, released last year, found lack of shut eye costs the economy $66 billion a year in health bills, productivity and wellbeing.
The same report found insufficient sleep kills 3017 people a year, including 394 who die in industrial accidents or after falling asleep at the wheel of a vehicle.
Besides sleep-specific conditions like sleep apnoea — which is often linked to being overweight — and insomnia, Professor Eastwood said society’s obsession with mobile phones was one of the biggest culprits.