Stress about work and finances ranked higher than technology as a sleep disrupter in survey but Australians are still getting out of bed early to make the most of the day
Sydney, Australia – Royal Philips (NYSE: PHG, AEX: PHIA) today released “Sleep: A Global Perspective,” the first in a series of reports highlighting sleep trends and habits collected from a survey of nearly 8,000 people across 10 countries including the United States, Brazil, the UK, France, the Netherlands, Germany, China, Japan, South Korea, and Australia. Released in support of the World Association of Sleep Medicine’s annual World Sleep Day on March 13, 2015, the survey revealed that worry about work, finances and the economy was the leading factor impacting sleep. In addition, while sleep is recognised globally as important to health and well-being, most people are not taking any steps to improve it.
Key insights about Australians’ sleep habits according to the report:
- Australians get up early to make the most of the day. Although Australians get an average number of hours sleep each night, Australians go to bed earlier and wake earlier on average than any other country surveyed - nearly half (45%) of Australian respondents wake before 7 am.
- Among a list of 13 factors keeping people up at night, Australian respondents selected financial/economic issues (30%) and work (23%) as their most common sleep disruptors. While 67% of people around the world sleep with a mobile phone within reach, only 18% of Australians said technology was a sleep disruptor.
- On the whole Australians are not as ‘stressed’ as some other countries surveyed, with 50% finding the last three months somewhat stressful or very stressful, compared with 70% of those surveyed in South Korea and 61% in Brazil.
- For 88% of Australians, sleep is identified as having the greatest influence on overall health and well-being, compared to factors including work, social life and intimacy with a partner.
- Key reasons Australians report wanting a better sleep include overall health and wellbeing (83%), being on top of our game/concentration (82%) and improved mood (74%).
- According to the Sleep Health Foundation, 7% of Australians are believed to suffer from Obstructive Sleep Apnoea (OSA) of at least moderate severity.
“Over the past few years, many surveys have focused on the negative impact that technology and mobile devices can have on sleep, but our survey confirmed that the factors impacting people’s sleep are much more varied and complex,” said Dr. Teofilo Lee-Chiong, M.D., Chief Medical Liaison, Philips. “And, while it’s refreshing to see people around the world equally valuing sleep as critical to their overall health, there’s clearly more that people can be doing to ensure they’re on a path to a better night’s sleep.”
People want more sleep, but don’t know how to get it
Of the 7,817 people surveyed, 96% said sleep is valuable to them. At the same time, 57% of respondents admitted that while their sleep could be better, they haven’t taken action to improve it. And, only 12% consistently sleep through the night, with 34% of respondents noting they wake up before they would like five to seven nights a week.
“It is clear from the survey that sleep is under pressure in advanced economies around the world, including Australia. The finding that 22% of respondents reported inadequate sleep each week aligns with our findings and can be very costly in terms of health, productivity and safety. Risk of heart attack, stroke, diabetes and depression all increase with consistently poor sleep,” said Professor David Hillman, Chair of the Australian Sleep Health Foundation. “Good sleep is a vital part of a healthy lifestyle and it’s time we all gave the need for it the attention it deserves.”
Professor Hillman says the toughest part for people wanting to improve sleep is often just getting motivated to make changes and recommends incremental changes to daily routines that will enable a better night’s sleep including reading instead of watching TV or using an electronic device before bed, reserving the bedroom for sleep and sex (not working in bed) and meditation/relaxation exercises to limit the impact of stress on your sleep.
In addition, 6% of respondents reported having obstructive sleep apnoea (OSA). This is consistent with other reports indicating that more than 100 million people globally suffer from this disorder. Because an estimated 80% of patients with OSA remain undiagnosed, a substantial number of people may benefit from proper screening, diagnosis and treatment of sleep apnoea.
The economy’s impact on sleep
Among a list of 12 different factors influencing overall health and well-being – including family, work, school, social life and intimacy with a partner – sleep ranked the highest, at 87%. But right behind it at 84% was money/financial security. Additionally, among a list of 13 factors keeping people up at night, respondents selected work (25%) and financial/economic issues (28%) as their most common sleep disruptors. While 67% of people around the world sleep with a mobile phone within reach, only 21% said technology was a sleep disruptor.
“Our survey indicates how psychological factors can impact sleep, and how those factors can change depending on the times in which we live,” said Dr. Mark Aloia, Senior Director of Global Clinical Research, Philips. “Combating stress is critical to a good night’s sleep, but the toughest part for people is often just getting motivated to make changes. This data further demonstrates that sleep needs to be viewed and treated holistically, with both technology and lifestyle solutions that work together to promote better health.”
Of the countries most worried about work, South Korea (43%), Brazil (33%) and China (32%) ranked the highest. Of those most worried about economic/financial issues, Brazil (39%), Germany (31%) and the U.S. (31%) topped the list.
Download the full “Sleep: A Global Perspective” report and supporting infographics here.
Philips issues global challenge to improve sleep
The first step to better rest is investigating your risk of an underlying sleep disorder. A significant percentage of the global population is estimated to suffer from disrupted sleep, and sleep apnoea is one of the most common of sleep disorders that is often undiagnosed. Find out if you may be at risk by taking the sleep apnoea symptoms quiz.
In addition to addressing potential sleep disorders, it is important to embrace behaviours that can improve your sleep. Life’s stressors can keep anyone up at night, but small changes can offset stress triggers and prepare your body for the rest it needs. Throughout the week leading up to World Sleep Day, March 9-13, Philips issued a global five-day #BeWellSleepWell challenge to empower people to take back control of their sleep and overall health. Philips encouraged people to make one small lifestyle change each day for five days to improve their sleep and well-being.
See how your sleep compares to those around the world and learn tips for getting better rest by following the #BeWellSleepWell conversation on Twitter: @PhilipsHealth and @PhilipsResp, and Facebook: Philips Health and Philips Respironics.