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Sleep Expert Says It's Time We Prioritised Getting A Better Sleep

Our research = we're bad sleepers!

Sleep Expert Says It's Time We Prioritised Getting A Better Sleep

Turns out we're a slack bunch when it comes to prioritising sleep -

55% of our listeners declared they'd love to sleep more, but they find it difficult to either get off to sleep or stay there, while 16% resent sleep, because they simply feel they've got too many other things to do. 

Flinders University Associate Professor Michael Gradisar is a sleep researcher, who says it's time we take the importance of a good nights' sleep more seriously.

"We see a lot of teenagers that aren't getting a lot of sleep, and what we notice is they're at risk of having depression. We see the same for mothers, and it can also affect our cognitive ability, our academic performance as well."

Gradisar says it's an age old problem.. something we've been struggling with for decades.

"(Back then) people would go to bed, turn the light off and perhaps start to worry about what they've got to do the next day, or worry about what went wrong that day. I guess what we're noticing is people are starting to avoid those worrying thoughts by using technology"

Interestingly, he says technology can be both a help and hindrance to sleep. 

"In some ways that could be the lesser of two evils, because worrying definitely is a problem"

"Something like watching TV doesn't seem to have much of a relationship at all to sleep, but one exception to that role is the mobile phone. Definitely, people should try to put it on aeroplane mode overnight so they don't get distracted by it."

"If they do need to use technology, they could swap the phone for the TV or laptop for something like netflix, which is something that is quite relaxing and quite often people fall asleep watching it." 

According to the research done by SCA Research & Insights, speaking directly with more than 300 of our listeners, almost half of us are keep to try changing our diets in hopes of a better sleep. 

Gradisar says that's something to consider: 

"Caffeine is one. If you have less caffeine at least in the second half of the day, that's definitely an improvement. The other one is alcohol. Alcohol can make us feel more sleepy so we fall asleep quicker but it actually disturbs our sleep during the night"

Exercise, meantime, is a doubled edged sword, too. 

"If people are increasing their exercise during the day, there is some research saying they sleep better at night. But, I get really surprised about these 24 hour, 7 day a week gyms because maybe that's good for shift workers but, in general, it's not good for most of the population."

"People can go onto google and type in the words 'body scan' and MP3. You can actually download some audio files that help to relax yourself and distract yourself from worries, so that can be a useful tool as well."

Written by Claire Sherwood @clairesherwood_