AUSSIES DITCH THE COMMUTE FOR A SNOOZE: HCF RELEASES SLEEP STUDY RESULTS ON WORLD SLEEP DAY
Friday March 18, 2022: HCF Australia is reminding Australians just how important sleep is to their overall health this World Sleep Day (March 18), as it reveals 40 per cent of Aussies plan on swapping their commute for sleep now that hybrid and remote work and study has become the norm.
The Sleep Study, conducted by HCF of more than 2,500 Australians, also found that:
- Gen Z (53%) were more likely than all older generations to say they plan to spend the time saved from spending less time commuting to work as a result of hybrid/remote work study arrangements, on sleeping more
- Four in ten (39%) Australians have experienced poor quality sleep over the past 12 months as a result of changes to their lifestyle due to COVID-19
- One in three (32%) parents with a child under 18 years said their child/ren not getting enough quality sleep was one of the top five concerns they have for their children
- Parents with teenagers 13-17 years (39%) were most likely to have this concern
HCF Chief Officer Member Health, Julie Andrews, said the data indicated that sleep was a worrying topic for many.
“If 40 per cent of working or studying Australians are planning on getting more sleep, it tells us that they’re aware they are already not getting enough,” Ms Andrews said.
“Setting goals is one thing but at HCF we’re serious about helping members reach those sleep goals and build better sleep habits, which is why we’ve partnered with Sleepfit Solutions to help people identify sleep issues, recommend improvements and have easy access to personalised tools in the palm of their hand through an app.”
Sleepfit CEO Melissa Webster, who founded the company to help provide sleep awareness, education, screening and strategies, said sleep and fatigue management could have an enormous impact on health.
“Getting the right amount of sleep is going to help you live longer, it’s going to help you enhance your memory; will help protect you from diseases like cancer and Alzheimer’s1, and it will ward off colds and flu,” Ms Webster said.
"The research tells us that globally about 40 per cent of us are not getting enough sleep2 – enough is between seven and nine hours depending on your needs.”
Ms Webster said sleep was a brain cleanse and a rejuvenation system for the body.
“When we do sleep, our brain shrinks by about 30 per cent in mass and we have fluid that runs through our brain and it clears out the build-up of toxins that are almost like a plaque, this is called amyloid beta3,” she said.
“When you don’t get enough sleep, what’s happening is it doesn’t get the opportunity to do that job as well as it could and should.”
To help ensure you are getting a good night’s sleep, Ms Webster suggests the following tips:
- Have a bedtime routine and avoid stimulating activities for about an hour before bedtime
- If you’ve been awake for more than 20 minutes and can’t sleep, get out of bed to help your brain identify being in bed with sleep, not thoughts
- If you can, try a 10-20 minute afternoon nap; it can give you a three-hour energy boost
- Shop around for a good quality bed, it can make a big difference
- Set your room temperature at about 18 degrees, which is the ideal temperature for sleep
- Make sure your room is as dark and quiet as possible – light and noise can be critical for good sleep
HCF members with hospital or extras cover can get a 20 per cent discount on a 12-month Sleepfit subscription. For more information, visit: https://www.hcf.com.au/members/manage-your-health/sleep-management/sleepfit
*Editor’s note: Please attribute all data and statistics to HCF Australia.
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HCF, Australia’s largest not-for-profit health fund protecting Australians since 1932, covers more than 1.75 million members with health and life insurance, and travel and pet insurance. On average over the last five years, HCF has paid out more cents in every dollar in premiums to members as benefits than the industry average. To learn more about HCF go to hcf.com.au/about-us
ABOUT THE SURVEY
All figures, unless otherwise stated, are from YouGov Plc. Total sample size was 2579 adults. Fieldwork was undertaken between 29th October - 3rd November 2021. The survey was carried out online. The figures have been weighted and are representative of all Australian adults (aged 18+).
1 Walker, Matthew. 2018. Why We Sleep. Harlow, England: Penguin Books.
2 Health Direct, Sleep, August 2020, www.healthdirect.gov.au/sleep
3 Walker, Matthew. 2018. Why We Sleep. Harlow, England: Penguin Books.