In a world where you can grab a fast feed at 2am, pick up your groceries at your local supermarket or even pop into a department store for a quick shopping spree – this all-access pass seems magical. But what we may have neglected, is the way it affects our overall health and well being, as well as those who have to work during those hours.
Findings published in the Foundation’s international Sleep Health Journal show that sleep deprivation is pointing towards a national epidemic and hasn’t been given the priority it needs.
The cause of this health concern is far and wide but is mainly the culprit of our growing technology obsession, an increase in depression and anxiety as well as shift-work. “Overall, 44 percent of adults are on the internet just before bed almost every night and 59 percent of these late night workers, web surfers, movie watchers or online gamers have more than two sleep problems,” Director of the Sleep Health Journal, Dr Hillman says.
Studies revealed the average reported sleep time is 7 hours, although 12 percent sleep less than 5½ hours and 8 percent over 9 hours.
But what happens to those who need to work during the night for a living? “The brain is genetically programmed to sleep at night and be awake by day, a group of cells makes up our biological clock, so those who sleep during the day will not have a restful sleep,” says Dr Estivill, an expert in sleep medicine.
And not only does a lack of sleep affect our family life and work performance but the health risks are deadly – literally. The findings showed that between 2016 and 2017, over 3,000 people died as result of sleep deprivation linked to falling asleep behind the wheel as well as pre-existing sleep disorders. And sleep deprivation is estimated to cost us $66 billion annually.
Their advice on how you can lighten the fatigue?
“Night shift workers should wear dark glasses once they finish work to help the body naturally produce melatonin as well as taking melatonin tablets before bed and finding a quiet place to sleep. And for those who are on the internet before bed? Turn devices off at least an hour before sleep, and educate yourself with a good book.”