Get some sleep

Heading into 2013, Australians are suffering from sleep deprivation with devastating consequences

Get some sleep
Get some sleep

January 1, 2013

At least nine percent of road crashes are due to sleep-related fatigue, according to a just-released Australian Sleep Health Foundation survey.

Sleep Health Foundation President David Hillman says a high percentage of Australians are suffering from fatigue and exhaustion on a daily basis due to inadequate or ineffective sleep.

"In Australia at least nine per cent of serious road crashes are due to fatigue, this equals 25,920 injuries per annum with associated costs of $277,912 per accident," Hillman says.

"In the workplace there are currently 9584 fatigue related injuries per annum, each costing $131,912."

Hillman says it is time for people to make sleep a priority.

He says 18 percent of adults regularly sleep less than six hours a night and 20 percent suffer chronically from poor sleep, half of these from a sleep disorder and the remainder from poor sleep habits.

Of the 1500 people surveyed by the Sleep Health Foundation, 16 percent say they didn’t get adequate or satisfactory sleep every night.

The survey also asked about fatigue and 24 percent of the people surveyed say they suffered from fatigue and exhaustion several days a week.

According to Hillman, people with sleep disorders have more than twice the risk of workplace and motor vehicle accidents, and that many people driving over the current Australian holiday period shouldn’t be behind the wheel.

"If someone has been awake for 17 hours it is the same as driving with a blood alcohol reading of 0.05 percent," he says.

"When people are tired they are unable to judge speed and are at risk of falling asleep behind the wheel."

The Sleep Health Foundation survey found that people experienced the following several times a week:

§ 20 percent have difficulty falling asleep

§ 35 percent wake up feeling unrefreshed

§ 19 percent stated that sleepiness interferes with daily activities

§ 19 percent say they were irritable and moody

"Good sleep health is a key requirement for preventing illness and maintaining wellbeing, and in 2013 we are asking people to make sleep a priority every day," says Hillman.

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