The need for sleep

TWENTY percent of all fatal road accidents are sleep related says Professor David Hillman from The Sleep Health Foundation.

Which is a bit worrying as more and more Australians are struggling to get a good night’s kip.

About one third of Aussies aren’t getting good quality shut-eye every night and the figure is even higher in young adults.

Poor sleep has a bilateral relationship with mental health issues like depression and anxiety, meaning depressed people tend to sleep poorly, and if you sleep poorly, depression is more likely.

Alarm clock on night table showing 3 a.m.

Insomnia

There’s no magic wand to fix insomnia, but there are some common-sense techniques you can use to help prevent it.

“We are no different to our ancient forbearers—we still need an average of eight hours’ sleep a night” says Prof Hillman.

“If you compromise it, you’re not going to perform at your very best, that’s for sure”.

Prof Hillman says getting a decent sleep is positive for everyone.

“If your driving in your car and you don’t react in time to someone coming towards you, there can be big consequences,” he says.

“Twenty percent of all fatal road accidents are sleep related”.

Prof Hillman’s top tips to get more Zs in your life are:

• Take stock of your own sleep. Try to figure out how many hours you need to feel good the next day.

• Go to bed at the same time every night.

• Get the bedroom environment right: make it free from electronic distractions. Give Instagram and Facebook a rest.

• Have a set routine before you hit the hay. Wind it down.

• If you’re an anxious person who worries about the next day, set aside some time to write down what you are planning to do tomorrow.

• Avoid caffeine late in the day and try not to drink much alcohol.

If none of these tips help then think about getting professional help, says Prof Hillman.

by MICHAEL ROBERTS  

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