sleep week

Let's Celebrate Sleep Week by putting sleep first!

It’s Sleep Week and Air Liquide Healthcare is here to raise awareness.

Adequate amounts of sleep are an essential part of our health, productivity, performance and overall wellbeing. Sleep Week shines the spotlight on sleep, which is often overlooked as a health and lifestyle factor, to promote the importance of sleep via education and awareness.

How common are sleep problems in Australia?

  • 2 in 3 (66%) adults report at least 1 sleep problem and almost half (48%) of all adults report at least 2 sleep related problems (Adams et al. 2017b).
  • Australia’s Sleep Health Foundation (2015) recommends the following for adults:
    • 7–9 hours for 18–64 year olds;
    • 7–8 hours for people aged 65 and over
  • Doctor-diagnosed sleep disorders occur in about 1 in 5 adults (22%) when the prevalence of OSA, restless leg syndrome, and insomnia are combined (Deloitte 2017).

The impact of burnout on sleep:

What is Burnout?

Burnout is characterised by exhaustion, disengagement from work and extreme cynicism.

How is it caused?

The World Health Organisation says it's often the result of repetitive stress, which can include continuously caring for others, not having enough social and emotional support, working for little pay and constantly witnessing suffering.

Who is suffering from burnout?

Forty-six per cent of Australian employees have admitted that they are feeling burnt out, according to the latest ELMO Employee Sentiment Index. Reference 1.

How can sleep benefit someone suffering from burnout?

Lack of adequate sleep over time has even been linked with a shortened lifespan. Reference 2.

During sleep, your brain and body are restored, and many vital bodily processes take place but a key one is emotional regulation. Emotional regulation makes stress easier to manage or let go. Scroll to the bottom to see tips on how to improve your sleep!

Sleep & Mental Health

How can a lack of sleep contribute to mental health issues?

A 2021 study showed the prevalence of suboptimal sleep among patients with a mental health condition in Australia was significantly higher than those without such a condition. Reference 3.

Sleep interruptions interfere with deep, restorative sleep which can weaken emotional resilience and potentially increase the risk of depression. Reference 4.

Chronic sleep disturbance is a significant risk factor for the development of mental health problems such as depression, paranoia, anxiety, post-traumatic stress disorder, hallucinations and even suicidal behaviours. The risk increases with insomnia, habitual sleep loss, obstructive sleep apnea. Reference 5.

Improve your sleep and improve your mental health!

Getting better sleep is also a great strategy for helping to prevent mental health problems from developing, or reducing the chances of a relapse. There are effective, evidence-based ways to improve your sleep and these should be part of any treatment plan to help mental health where sleep is poor.

Here are a few tips for improving your sleep:

a) Get a good night's sleep, aim for 7-9 hours

b) Limit media exposure

c) Make time to unwind

d) Take care of your body - regular exercise and a healthy diet

e) Connect with others

f) Take care of your mind

g) Your bed is predominantly for sleep

h) Keep a regular sleep-wake routine

i) Manage fatigue

For help with persistent sleep problems talk to your GP. They may refer you to a Sleep Specialist, who will provide skilled diagnostic services (often involving a sleep study) and treatment options across a range of sleep.