Australia's Sleepiness Epidemic time to stop dying from lack of sleep

Survey results released by the Australian Sleep Health Foundation show a high percentage of Australians are suffering from fatigue and exhaustion on a daily basis due to inadequate or ineffective sleep.

Professor David Hillman, President, Sleep Health Foundation said, “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 $277,912.00 per accident. In the workplace there are currently 9,584 fatigue related injuries per annum, each costing $131,912.00.  “It is time for people to make sleep a priority: 18 per cent of adults regularly sleep less than six hours per 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 per cent stated they didn’t get adequate or satisfactory sleep every night.  The survey also asked about fatigue and 24 per cent of the people surveyed said they suffered from fatigue and exhaustion at least several days a week.

People with sleep disorders have more than twice the risk of workplace and motor vehicle accidents. “A lot of people will be driving for long periods of time over the Christmas holidays and many of them 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 per cent. When people are tired they are unable to judge speed and at risk of falling asleep behind the wheel,” Professor Hillman said.

The Sleep Health Foundation survey found that people experienced the following several days/nights a week:

  • 20 per cent have difficulty falling asleep
  • 35 per cent wake up feeling unrefreshed
  • 19 per cent stated that sleepiness interferes with daily activities
  • 19 per cent said they were irritable and moody

"Today we are asking people who snore frequently or loudly, stop breathing in their sleep, don’t get enough sleep, can’t sleep or wake up feeling tired to make an appointment to see their doctor so they can be diagnosed and commence treatment, if required.  “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,: Professor Hillman concluded.

Downloadable fact sheets are available at www.sleephealthfoundation.org.au

For more information contact:

Lucy Williams: 0403 753 028