Ahhhh, sleep. It’s that very essential human requirement that most humans just aren’t getting. We all know we need sleep but, for many of us, life has other ideas. The question is how do we sleep better and at the same time deal with all the other stressors life delivers?
A 2016 “Sleep Health Survey of Australian Adults” by The University of Adelaide* found sleep problems were common in Australian adults, affecting 33-45 percent of us (although sleep problems were found across all age groups). The report found:
∙ Average reported sleep time was seven hours, although 12 percent of respondents sleep less than 5.5 hours (three-quarters of these people also reported frequent daytime impairment or sleep-related symptoms).
∙ Frequent, loud snoring is reported by 24 percent of men and 17 percent of women. Frequent, loud snoring and breathing pauses in sleep are more often seen in middle age. Among those with frequent, loud snoring, 70 per cent report daytime impairment or other sleep-related symptoms.
∙ Medical sleep conditions are also very common, with diagnosed sleep apnea affecting 8 per cent, significant insomnia affecting 20 per cent, and restless legs affecting 18 percent of adults.
While our general wellbeing is at risk through lack of sleep, the consequences on work performance, work productivity and, scarily, driving are all severe. The report found 29 per cent of people drove while drowsy at least every month. A staggering 20 percent of drivers have nodded off while driving and 5 percent have had an accident in the past year because they dozed off.
What’s Preventing Us From Sleeping Better
Why is it that we just aren't getting enough sleep when we know we should?
Modern society and, ironically enough, technological advancements, seem to be the biggest issue preventing us from sleeping better.
A quarter of all adults (26 per cent), use the Internet most or every night of the week just before bed, and have frequent sleep difficulties or daytime impairments. Similarly, 16 per cent of all working adults do work just before bed and also have frequent sleep difficulties or daytime sleep-related symptoms. In a nutshell, nearly a quarter of respondents (23 per cent) report their typical weekday routine of work or home duties simply just does not allow them to get enough sleep.
How Do We Sleep Better
Switching off from work, disconnecting from the internet and relaxing after dinner are all key (you should also eat dinner as early as possible, to give your body time to digest food - and steer clear of caffeine. Tea Tonic Relaxation Tea is a perfect substitute for anyone wanting a hot caffeine free beverage before bed.
Create A Sanctuary For Sleep In Your Bedroom
Many of us are also inclined to use our screens in the bedroom, whether that’s a TV, laptop or smartphone. However, your bedroom should be set up as a sanctuary for sleep. Sleep in a cool, darkened room. Invest in luxury bedding and natural bedding (bamboo sheets, for example) to give your body the thanks it deserves at the end of a long day.
Cover your eyes with a luxurious silk eye mask (with the added benefit of helping reduce the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles).
Help Your Children To Sleep Better Too
To start your children off on the right foot, there are baby sleep aids available to help them get a good night’s sleep. And for those who snore, remember there are snoring aids that can help you sleep better and also give your partner and family a break from the noise – to help them sleep better, too!
* By Robert Adams, Sarah Appleton, Anne Taylor, Doug McEvoy and Nick Antic.