New AIHW report on sleep problems as a risk factor for chronic conditions
I’m really pleased to see our report, Sleep problems as a risk factor for chronic conditions, released today. Congratulations to my team for their hard work on this.
Sleep is essential to support good health, learning and development in children, and for cognitive functioning and workplace performance in adults. Both the length and quality of a person’s sleep are linked to their self-reported life satisfaction.
The report brings together available national and international evidence on sleep problems as a risk factor for chronic conditions, including type 2 diabetes, cardiovascular disease, coronary heart disease, hypertension, and stroke. The report covers how these conditions and other risk factors are associated with getting either too little or too much sleep, as well as sleep disorders.
It also presents data on sleep in Australia, including the prevalence of sleep problems. Despite most Australians reporting 7-8 hours of sleep a day (in line with recommendations from Australia’s Sleep Health Foundation), 2 in 3 (66%) adults report at least 1 sleep problem, and almost half (48%) report at least 2 sleep-related problems.
Additionally, the report shows that getting too little sleep is more common for people aged 25-64, and getting too much sleep is more common for people aged 65 and over.
We’ve also provided information of potential new data sources such as doctor-prescribed sleep medications and wearable fitness devices, while noting the limitations of some of these new and existing sources for monitoring sleep and sleep problems as a risk factor for chronic conditions in Australia.
We’ve also included information on the impact of shift work on sleep, and ‘yo-yo sleeping’ among children—a cycle of too little sleep on school days, followed by catch-up sleep on weekends.
You can read the full report here.