If you need an alarm to get up in the morning, you’re probably not getting enough sleep.
More than 40% of Australians get too little sleep to feel rested and able to function at their best. The average amount for an adult is around seven hours, while only 8% are lucky enough to get more than nine hours. Some 12% of Australians get less than 5.5 hours, and three-quarters of those struggle to get through their day.
These holidays, ditch the alarm clock and make getting enough sleep one of your New Year’s resolutions. Your memory, waistline and even your employer may thank you for it.
Why getting enough sleep should be a priority.
Our brains use sleep time to sort through our experiences. We “clean up” and get rid of information connections we don’t need from the day just gone. Without adequate sleep, we may not be making enough space for new learning and memories.
Getting enough sleep also ensures we are safe to drive on the roads and less likely to make costly mistakes at work and home. Being awake for longer than 17 hours impairs your ability to think clearly as much as having a blood alcohol concentration above 0.05. After 24 hours awake, your ability to perform cognitive tasks is as poor as if you had a blood alcohol concentration of 0.10.
LISTEN: Lucy Durack on Sleep Angels and what’s it like to get a sleep coach. Post continues after audio.
Last year’s Australian sleep survey found 29% of Australian workers reported making errors at work in the previous three months specifically because they hadn’t got enough sleep. One in five respondents reported having nodded off while driving.
Getting enough sleep may also be helpful for managing our food intake. When people are only allowed to sleep for short periods of time, they are more likely to choose to snack food, particularly sweet snacks.