Australia Sleep Disorders Skyrocket, Leaving Doctors Concerned
Rates of sleeping disorders in Australia are at an all time high, and sleep deprivation is becoming an increasingly alarming issue in our developed world. In a society where being busy or having no time to sleep is the mark of a successful or influential person, it is hard to get people to understand just how important sleep is for their bodies.
In 2012 to 2013, it was found that 75,000 people left a hospital with the diagnosis of a sleep disorder, and that’s really just the base of the issues associated with it. Not sleeping is almost as bad for you as smoking cigarettes, and it leads to Alzheimer’s obesity, poor results at work or school, etc. It also costs $36.4 billion each year in Australia alone.
Another huge problem with this is that people believe that if they “catch up” on sleep on the weekends, it doesn’t matter that they’re not sleeping well during the week. This has been proven untrue. It can take your body 5 nights of sleeping 12 hours to regain what it loses in functionality during a week. Take a look at just some of the lasting issues sleep deprivation can have:
- Obesity. You are more likely to make other poor health decisions when sleep deprived. Because you’re awake longer, you have more time to eat, and because your body is exhausted, you don’t have the energy to exercise. This leads to fast weight gain that can lend itself to other issues such as heart disease, heart attacks, or strokes.
- Accidents.You have less of an ability to stay focused and alert when you’re tired. This can lead to something as serious as car accidents, to something as simple as messing up paperwork at the office. Keep in mind that sleep deprivation has been linked to many road fatalities. To give a comparison to alcohol effects- staying awake for 24 hours means the equivalent of 0.05 blood alcohol content, which is illegal in Australia.
- Cancer, Anxiety, Depression, Etc.A whole host of health issues in addition to the aforementioned obesity come into play when you are sleep deprived. Not sleeping allows cancer to seep deeper into your bones and helps it spread faster. You are also more susceptible to pain without sleep. As many as 42 Americans have their sleep disrupted by aches and pains multiple times per week, but in cancer patients, it is even more of an issue. Not having enough pain tolerance can mean the difference between treatments. Numerous studies have also clearly linked sleeplessness with depression and anxiety. If you’re really that busy, maybe use public transport and pick up a travel pillow. You can catch a few extra minutes on the way to where you’re going!
- Academic and Work Performance Issues This one should be a given, but to touch on it anyway, you are not as productive or effective if you’re exhausted. Sleep enhances your ability to be alert and focused, therefore allowing you to problem solve and get more task done quicker. Students who are better rested can do as much as 15% better on exams than those who are sleep deprived.