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Get more sleep

Looking for a quick way to feel happier and healthier? Put your feet up and go to bed! The results of the official 2011 Wellness Score period illustrate once again that the more we’re able to rest, the better we’ll feel.

Nearly 60,000 Australians took the Quiz during the official 2011 survey period, and the results have been collaborated. The results show that:

  • Those who sleep less than 7 hours have a Quiz score* of 52.8 vs those who sleep 7-8 hours score 62.4
  • Those who do not get enough sleep are more likely to be overweight.

Just over a third or 36% of Australians surveyed get less than 7 hours sleep a night and 8% sleep more than nine hours each night with 56% surveyed getting just the right amount of sleep according to respondents proving that Australians need to get more sleep each night.

Dr Grant, one of our Nestlé Choose Wellness contributors, noted that these results were startling. “The human body is designed to have 7-8 hours sleep a night.  Less than this and you get stressed and you go into “sleep debt” which leaves you feeling like you are always running on empty.  You think you can get away with stealing hours from sleeping to add to your day but the quality of hours left is greatly decreased in productivity.  Your physicality affects your emotion.”

Interestingly, the less you sleep the more likely you are to be overweight or obese with 66% of those surveyed who sleep less than 7 hours per night saying they are overweight or obese.  In contrast, only 25% of sleep deprived Aussies surveyed have a normal BMI.  This may have something to do with the fact those who sleep less are more likely not to have exercised enough during the day. Nestlé Choose Wellness found 41% of those surveyed who sleep less than 6 hours admitted they did little exercise.

If you sleep between 7-8 hours, you are more likely to be happier and less stressed than those who don’t get the required amount of sleep. In fact, the Wellness Score, measures your happiness and healthiness, shows that there is a 10% difference between those who don’t sleep enough and those who sleep just right (52.8% vs those who sleep 7-8 hours have a score of 62.4%).

And who are Australia’s most sleep deprived?  It’s the separated, divorced and widowed (44% surveyed), who say they sleep six hours or less, then Baby Boomers (40% surveyed), the unemployed (39% surveyed) and those with an education standard below Year 12 (42% surveyed).  And how to they stack up against their peers?  In contrast only 32% of those surveyed people who have never been married sleep six hours or less per night, Gen Y (25% surveyed), part time workers (33% surveyed) and university educated (30% surveyed).  Not surprising; those with children get slightly less sleep than those without (especially those with younger children, with 42% surveyed getting less than 7 hours sleep per night).

So, what to do if you’re not getting enough ZZZs?

Here are some ideas:

1) Make sleep a priority. Many of us try to make exercise and healthy eating a part of our everyday lives, and getting a good night’s sleep should be viewed in the same way. Be kind to yourself though – it’s a balancing act fitting everything in

2) Turn off the noise. Having the smartphone bleeping, the laptop night glowing and/or the low hum of the tv in the corner, all detract from a restful sleeping environment. Aim to make your bedroom a calming environment, not associated with work pressures.

3) Stick to a routine. Try to get to bed at roughly the same time each night.

There are many causes of sleep disruption and poor sleep. The tips and suggestions we’ve provided are designed to help you get more sleep but may not be appropriate for your personal sleep problems. For more specific ideas on your sleep problems, you may like to contact:

Sleep Disorders Australia, a voluntary state-wide organisation.

Alternatively, you may wish to consult your doctor for advice specific to your needs.


References

A cornerstone of Nestlé Choose Wellness is the Wellness Score, which looks into the integral connection between your health and happiness.  The Wellness Score tested 59,259 Australians by Nestlé and Galaxy Research which was conducted during August/September 2011

 Eight hours sleep per night is recommended amount (Tune, 1968)

Sleep deprivation is associated with burn out and depression (Rosen, Gimotty, Shea, & Bellini, 2006)

Lack of sleep leads to depression (Harrison, 2010)

Low quality sleep lowers quality of life (Haus & Smolensky, 2006)

One in six road accidents is probably caused by lack of sleep (Worksafe, 2008)

Positive affect and eudaimonic well-being are directly associated with good sleep (Roberts, 2008)

Harrison, P. G. (2010). Depression, suicidal ideation more likely in adolescents with late vs earlier set bedtimes. Sleep, 33(1), 97-106.

Haus, E., & Smolensky, M. (2006). Biological clocks and shift workers: Circadian dysregulation and potential longterms effects. Cancer Causes Control, 17, 489-500.

Roberts, R. E. (2008). Positive well-being and sleep. Journal of Psychosomatic Research, 64(4), 417-418.

Rosen, I. M., Gimotty, P. A., Shea, J. A., & Bellini, L. M. (2006). Evolution of sleep quantity, sleep deprivation, mood disturbances, empathy, and burnout among interns. Academic Medicine, 81(1), 82-85.

Tune, G. (1968). Sleep and wakefulness in normal human adults. British Medical Journal, 2(5600), 269.

Worksafe. (2008). Staying awake at the wheel. Retreived 17th May 2010 from  Department of Commerce WorkSafe Division Perth Australia.

 

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