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How much sleep is enough?
Adults need between 7 and 9 hours of quality sleep for healthy cognitive and physical health.
Sleep is beneficial to every single major organ in our body and lack of it is detrimental to our physical and mental wellbeing.
Just one night of poor sleep is all it takes to negatively impact attention span, memory recall and learning ability. (World Sleep Society Research WSSR)
World Sleep Day – REGULAR SLEEP HEALTHY FUTURE 19 March 2021: highlights the importance of sleep health encouraging us all to make getting enough sleep a priority in our lives to improve our overall health and wellbeing.
If by reading this you pause for a moment to reflect upon your own bedtime habits and contemplate ways to improve your bedtime routine, then World Sleep Day has made progress!
Lack of sleep in Australia is taking its toll on not only our health but also our wealth! Approximately 7.4 million Australians don’t get enough sleep. It’s a large and under-recognised problem. This costs the economy over $26 billion as a result of reduced productivity. But add to this the impact of lost health and wellbeing and the figure rose to over $66 billion in 2017 (Deloitte Access Economics).
Not only is there a health and wealth consequence of poor sleep, it’s dangerous to others and ourselves: fatigue is the cause of more road accidents than alcohol and drug use combined. Sleep deprivation was linked to 3017 deaths in 2017-17.
The psychological, social and economic costs of inadequate sleep are so high that a recent report recommended to the Australian Government that sleep health should be a national priority, alongside fitness and nutrition. The report recommended a sleep health awareness campaign to promote sleep as the foundation for ensuring positive health and wellbeing outcomes alongside nutrition and exercise.
3 Pillars to a healthy life
SLEEP + EXERCISE + NUTRITION
But we’re not prioritizing sleep in the same way as exercise and what we eat!
We should be spending about a third of our life sleeping and giving it as much importance as exercise and nutrition to maintain overall health and wellbeing.
Since the outset of the Covid-19 pandemic, celebrity headlines have been popping up about the virtues of immunity boosting strategies, new recipes, food ingredients you’ve never heard of, exercise techniques from around the world, but there is little conclusive scientific evidence that you can boost your immunity. But we do know the 3 pillars of healthy living, sleep, exercise and nutrition, are essential to your general good health which in turn means a healthy immune system.
As the seasons change and the temperature falls, it’s all the more important to sleep well and stay well.
Whatever the reasons that you can’t sleep, sometimes lifestyle and behavioral changes can help.
Your bedtime routine and sleeping environment can make a big difference to the quality and duration of your sleep.
Psychologist and sleep expert Professor Kevin Morgan says “The texture of the bedding, the weight of the bedding, the height of the pillow, the side of the bed you’re on, the amount of light in your room – everybody has their sleep environment preferences and to be deprived of them is a personally significant event.”
He points to routine as being the most important factor in getting good sleep. Getting up and going to bed at the same time every day and recommends avoiding the daytime nap!
There’s a mountain of reading around sleep, creating a sleep oasis and the benefits of getting into a beautifully made bed of fresh, crisp clean sheets.
Nutritionist Rob Hobson in his book The Art of Sleeping, says there’s no TV in his bedroom, he has blackout blinds, he changes his bedding twice a week and sprays his pillow with lavender oil. He also ensures his bedroom is clutter free because he can’t handle mess waiting to be tidied!
But we’re all different! If you’re feeling inspired to improve your sleep, here’s 10 tips from the World Sleep Society which may help to get you started.