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Scientists detected an alarming epidemic of sleep deprivation

Posted February 11, 2017

There is a dangerous epidemic in many world countries. In fact, it is so wide-spread that many readers of this article have it too. It is a sleep deprivation epidemic and it is costing huge amounts of money for people worldwide. Now scientists from the University of Adelaide analysed situation in Australia, but results of the research may be a good indication of what is happening in other countries as well.

People are not getting enough sleep and that is causing a number of problems, including some dangerous situations. Image credit: Eric Skiff via Wikimedia, CC BY-SA 2.0

People tend to go to sleep too late and thus do not get enough of it. Next day they feel drowsy and are less productive in their work, which means that entire country suffers from less productive workers. Furthermore, in many cases it is actually dangerous to work sleepy. This new study showed that 33 to 45% of Australian adults sleep either poorly or not long enough most nights. It means, there is a real epidemic of sleep deprivation, which causes a long list of health problems.

Results of this research are quite shocking, although not surprising. People themselves are speaking about it for a long time – we tend to go to sleep too late and then we are tired for an entire day. Scientists questioned 1000 people and a third of them reported having difficulties sleeping at least a few times a week or more, or having sleep-related daytime symptoms. Interestingly, more women are suffering from sleep deprivation and problems related to it, such as being moody, easily irritated, and unproductive and so on. On the other hand, more men suffer from the night time breathing condition obstructive sleep apnoea, but women hardest hit by insomnia.

Furthermore, many people (around 44 %) use internet before they are going to sleep, which may reduce the quality of sleep. And many (29 %) have been driving while drowsy, which cause a huge number of accidents. Dr David Hillman, one of the authors of the research, said: “There is a false belief shared by a lot of us that sleep is a waste of time and that we can get away with less than we really need. But the truth is people who cut corners with their sleep function below their best. They are not as mentally sharp, as vigilant, as attentive or as patient as they would otherwise be”.

It is really not that hard to make a positive change in your life – just sleep more. However, since it is an epidemic, actions from policy makers are needed too to encourage people to stay healthy and change their perspective towards sleep.


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