The Sleep Health Foundation works with leaders in sleep science and medicine to raise awareness of the importance of sleep, the consequences of disrupted sleep and the best treatments for sleep problems.

For spokespeople for media interviews please contact: Lucy Williams on 0403 753 028 or email 

Aussie Sleep Warning Goes Global

For more information and interview requests, contact Lucy Williams on mobile: 0403 753 028

An Australian report warning of a sleep crisis Down Under has caught the attention of global health experts working to establish sleep as a top priority worldwide.

The leading medical journal SLEEP has published results of a startling report from Australia that reveals the $66 billion annual cost of sleeplessness on our economy.

The paper warns the Australian data, the most detailed collected worldwide to date, provides the clearest view of the economic impact of sleeplessness in advanced economies across the globe.

“Our results can serve as a warning to authorities in all western nations that the large and growing problem of sleeplessness is a considerable drain on economies,” says Dr David Hillman, deputy chair of Australia’s Sleep Heath Foundation, which funded the report by Deloitte Access Economics. “It underlines that we’re in the midst of a worldwide epidemic of inadequate sleep that needs immediate attention through education, regulation and brand new initiatives.”

The report, published last August, estimated 7.4 million Australians regularly missed out on adequate shut eye in the 2016-2017 financial year. The problem costs $26.2b a year in health bills,  lost productivity and accident expenses, and a further $40.1b in loss of wellbeing.

The new paper, published this week by Oxford University Press, warns much of the Americas, Europe and Asia will be contending with similarly huge sleep-related costs.

Aussie teens forgo sleep for screens

A new research report from health promotion foundation VicHealth and the Sleep Health Foundation has found Australian teenagers are missing out on crucial sleep, with screen time, caffeine and stress keeping them awake.

The research found that the average teenager only got between 6.5 and 7.5 hours of sleep a night, well under the recommended 8-10 hours, and it was seriously impacting their mental wellbeing, with increased rates of depression, anxiety and low self-esteem among sleep-deprived teens.

But the study also found a simple way for teens to reclaim some much needed shut-eye. Teens who put down their smart-phones an hour before bed gained an extra 21 minutes sleep a night and an hour and 45 minutes over the school week.

Stop Tired Drivers Getting Behind Wheel: Report

Sleep starved Australians should be treated like drunks and barred from getting behind the wheel of a car to stop them harming other drivers, a hard-hitting new report recommends.

The Sleep Health Foundation Report by Deloitte Access Economics, released today, calculates that four in ten Australians routinely fail to get the sleep they need.

Inadequate sleep is a major health and safety hazard that costs the country $66 billion annually and contributes to the death of about 3,000 people a year. The report estimates more than one Australian will die every day – 394 a year - from falling asleep at the wheel of a vehicle or from industrial accidents due to lack of sleep.

Sleep Starved Aussies Run Up $66b Bill: Report

Millions of Australians are failing to get the sleep they need to live healthy, happy lives, a national scourge that costs the country $66 billion a year in health bills, lost productivity and wellbeing, a new report says.

The Sleep Health Foundation Report by Deloitte Access Economics released 8 August 2017 estimates 7.4 million Australians routinely missed out on adequate shut eye in the 2016-2017 financial year.

“This lack of sleep had harmful effects on everyday function, and exacerbated health conditions from heart disease and stroke through to diabetes and depression in tens of thousands of Australians,” says Professor Dorothy Bruck, Chair of the Sleep Health Foundation, which commissioned the report. “On top of this, it claimed the lives of more than 3,000 people. The cost of sleep deprivation is utterly alarming and confirms we need to take urgent action to put sleep on the national agenda.”  

Bad Sleep and Sick Days Are Cosy Bedfellows: Study

A quarter of working Australians may have one sick day a month as a consequence of poor
sleep, a new survey reveals.

Sleep specialists are urging bosses to help their employees get their 40 winks on the back of a study that confirms sleep problems and sick days go hand in hand, even among people who don’t suffer from sleep disorders like insomnia.

The study, commissioned by the Sleep Health Foundation and published recently in the journal Sleep Health, investigates the relationship between sleep and days off work for 551 working adults in Australia. “Surprisingly, we discovered that you don’t need to be an insomniac or a severe snorer to have sleep problems that stop you going to work,” explains Professor Robert Adams, senior author of the study and Sleep Health Foundation spokesperson.

Want a Smarter, Safer Office? Change the Light Bulbs, Sleep Experts Urge

Bosses should swap old-school lights for brighter, enriched bulbs if they want more alert employees and bigger profits, a leading coalition of sleep health experts has warned.

The Sleep Health Foundation has partnered with the Cooperative Research Centre for Alertness, Safety and Productivity to call for smarter, safer workplaces during Sleep Awareness Week, starting this Monday, July 3.

The nationwide sleep health campaign shines a spotlight on Australia’s worrying rates of sleep disorders, and calls on employers to take action to help their workers both sleep better and feel more alert while at work.

Sleep-Smart Rosters Help Keep Doctors Sharper and Safer

An Australian-first body clock rostering system trial underway at two leading Victorian hospitals aims to improve doctors’ performance and wellbeing and enhance patient safety. The country’s best sleep researchers have joined forces to create a staff rostering schedule for shift work that best mitigates fatigue, based on the latest sleep and circadian rhythm research.

Austin Health and Monash Health intensive care unit doctors are taking part in the trial which is being led by the Cooperative Research Centre for Alertness, Productivity and Safety (Alertness CRC) as part of an ongoing effort to further improve workplace alertness, safety and health for staff and patients.

Sleepiness Epidemic Hits Nation

MEDIA RELEASE
9 February 2017

Australia is in the grip of a sleep deprivation epidemic that is dragging down the nation’s productivity, risking safety and damaging mental health, a new national sleep study reveals.

Research by the Sleep Health Foundation has found 33 to 45 per cent of adults sleep either poorly or not long enough most nights, leaving them to face the new day with fatigue, irritability and other side effects of sleep deprivation.

One Night Only: Sleep Experts Urge Aussies to Swap Screens for Sleep

MEDIA RELEASE
9 March 2017

Want to feel fantastic? The nation’s top sleep specialists are challenging Australians to enjoy one good night’s sleep this Thursday night to mark World Sleep Day with a smile on your face.

Sleep Health Foundation and Australasian Sleep Association have partnered to launch a social media campaign encouraging people to break with their evening screen time habits for just one night.

Fact sheets available for Chinese speakers

MEDIA RELEASE
19 January 2017

Thanks to a grant from the Australian Chinese Community Foundation Inc., the Sleep Health Foundation, Australia’s leading advocate for better sleep, has produced four of its popular fact sheets in Chinese Simplified. The fact sheets available in Chinese Simplified are written by experts and give information about

  • Insomnia
  • Obstructive Sleep Apnea (OSA)
  • Continuous Positive Airways Pressure (CPAP), a treatment for obstructive sleep apnea
  • Older People and Sleep

Hot Night Survival Guide

Get naked, don’t snuggle and avoid the bedroom until you’re yawning.

Australia’s Sleep Health Foundation is issuing hot tips to get a decent night’s slumber as the mercury climbs to new heights this summer.

“These hot nights can take a heavy toll on your sleep,” says Professor Dorothy Bruck, sleep expert and Chair of the foundation, the leading national advocate for sleep health. “Sweltering temperatures make it difficult to fall asleep, wake you often in the night and leave you feeling drained and exhausted by morning.”

Research shows humans sleep most soundly when the temperature is 17 to 19 degrees Celsius. When the temperatures soar there are several easy and cost-effective tricks you can use to cool your body and ensure you get your 40 winks, the foundation says.

Many Australians will be familiar with the benefits of ventilation - an open window or a fan to get the air moving in the room. But there are several other tips many people overlook. “Stripping down definitely helps,” says Professor Bruck. “Swap your nightshirt or nightgown for a sleeveless top, skimpy shorts, underwear, or even better, nothing at all.” Cotton sheets and clothing will keep you cooler than synthetic fabrics, she adds.

Sleep Hacks Give Snorers a Wake-Up Call

Snorers beware: Your noisy night-time habit may be damaging your mood and your health even more than your lover’s sleep.

Top sleep specialists are warning Australians with a gasping snore to see their GP to find out if they’re suffering from the serious night-time breathing condition obstructive sleep apnea (OSA).

“Many snorers wrongly assume their loud breathing is just a harmless habit when in fact it could be responsible for their fatigue, their irritability and their poor cardiovascular health,” says Professor David Hillman, chairman of Sleep Health Foundation.

The leading sleep authority is raising awareness of OSA during Sleep Awareness Week 2016, which launches on Monday, July 4.

It is estimated one in five snorers has OSA, a sleep disorder in which the upper airway partly or completely collapses during sleep, making it difficult to breathe. The condition affects at least eight per cent of Australians, with rates highest among men, the elderly and the obese.

Damaging Sleep Problems Going Untreated

Insomnia and severe snoring problems are widespread in Australia and New Zealand but just one in every three sufferers seek the help they need, sleep experts warn.

Health specialists are using Sleep Awareness Week starting July 4 to highlight concerns that too many people in are living with undiagnosed and untreated sleep disorders that steal their health and happiness.

“It’s a sad fact that more than 1/3rd of adults have sleeping problems, but it’s even more concerning that most of them are suffering through their bad sleep and waking unrefreshed without realising help is at hand,” says Professor Alister Neill President of the New Zealand Branch of the Australasian Sleep Association and spokesman for Sleep Health Foundation.

“This poor sleep is adversely affecting their health, their mood, their relationships, their diet, their driving, their motivation to exercise and their ability to do their job safely and effectively. Just about every aspect of life suffers.”

High Tech Car Helps Solve Fatigue Crash Puzzle

Tired night shift workers are going under the microscope to help scientists develop smart lighting systems, safer cars and better rosters to make the graveyard shift safer than ever.

Sleep health specialists are teaming up with industry experts on an innovative new research project to find new ways to solve the nation's devastating workplace fatigue problem.

The Cooperative Research Centre (CRC) for Alertness, Safety and Productivity, in conjunction with the Sleep Health Foundation, is conducting a research project in which sleep, fatigue and brain changes will be monitored in a group of shift-working nurses and medical staff.

Driver Fatigue Causes Deadly Confusion: Experts

Specialists at the Sleep Health Foundation have raised grave concerns that many Australians wrongly believe their tiredness behind the wheel can be completely cured with a rest stop.

"That's a dangerous assumption and one that could sadly cost us lives," says Dr David Hillman, chair of the foundation, the leading national advocate for sleep health. "Statistics clearly show that where accident risk is concerned, it is sleepiness that's the problem. Sleep is the cure when sleepy, and rest alone won't do."

More than 185,000 people have died on Australian roads since the road toll began in 1925, with an average of 2055 adults and children killed annually. Road trauma takes a huge financial toll too, costing the country $27 billion a year.

Fact Sheets available in Chinese

Thanks to a grant from the Australian Chinese Community Foundation Inc we have translated four of our most popular fact sheets into Chinese Simplified. These fact sheets are written by experts and give information about:  

  • Insomnia  
  • Obstructive Sleep Apnea (OSA) 
  • Continuous Positive Airways Pressure (CPAP)
  • Older People and Sleep

Older Australians are drinking so much coffee and booze that it's damaging their already fragile sleep, a new survey has found.

A survey of sleep patterns and habits by Sleep Health Foundation has revealed consumption of caffeine and alcohol increases steadily with age. As a result, people aged over 55 are waking an average of 2.5 times each night, disruptions that affect sleep quality.

The findings are concerning given older people naturally have a more disturbed sleep, a known developmental change linked to ageing, says Professor David Hillman, president of the Sleep Health Foundation, Australia's leading national advocate for sleep health.

"It seems that older people are not doing themselves any favours drinking lots of alcohol and coffee, mood-altering substances which have been proven to be detrimental to a good night's sleep," Professor Hillman says. "As they age, people should really be consuming less of these, not more."

Dr Hillman issued the warning ahead of the daylight saving change this Sunday, October 4, which will see people living in New South Wales, Victoria, South Australia, Tasmania, and the Australian Capital Territory put their clocks forward one hour at 2am.

Young Women Struggle to Shake Sleep Woes

Scientists have bad news for young women with sleep troubles: There's a good chance you'll still be tossing and turning in a decade.

An Australian study involving almost 10,000 women has revealed that 20-somethings with sleep problems had troublingly high rates of insomnia when questioned a decade later. This is despite many seeking medical help to solve their sleep troubles over the years.

"This analysis reveals an alarming level of risk of ongoing sleep issues in women who reported sleep difficulties 'often' in their early 20s," says Professor Dorothy Bruck, sleep psychologist at the Sleep Health Foundation and senior author of the paper published this month in the scientific journal Sleep Medicine.

"If we were lacking proof that insomnia is often a chronic and persistent health condition then we certainly have it now."

Want to feel smarter, happier and more decisive?

The solution is simpler than you think.

This year's Sleep Awareness Week promotes getting between seven and nine hours shut eye a night as a means to feel more alert, energized, decisive, happy and less prone to catching winter bugs.

Almost 10,000 serious workplace injuries and more than 25,000 serious road crash injuries are caused by poor alertness each year. The cost to the Australian economy is substantial—over $5 billion a year in lost productivity and healthcare costs, and over $31 billion a year in the loss of healthy life.

"This year's message is a powerful one - 'Sleep better, Be better'," says Professor David Hillman, Chair, Sleep Health Foundation, which promotes the important annual event. "We're saying take your sleep more seriously and you'll see immediate and impressive results at work, at home, socially and on the sports field."

Participate in the National Sleep Survey for Sleep Awareness Week

The bedtime behaviour of thousands of Australians is going under the microscope to reveal the truth about the country's sleeping habits.

Sleep Awareness Week is launched on Monday, July 6 with an online sleep survey that questions people about their shut eye.

"Whether you're a napper, a sleeping pill popper or a midnight iPad cruiser, we want to know," says Professor David Hillman, Chair, Sleep Health Foundation, which promotes the annual event.

"If we get this important information from enough Australians we'll be able to paint a picture of how well the average person sleeps and offer advice to help them do it better."

This year the week-long campaign promotes eight hours sleep a night as a means to feel more alert, energised, decisive, happy and less prone to catching winter bugs.

Aussie Firms Should Get Sleep Smart

Bosses need to get 'sleep smart' if they want their employees to be alert, productive and safe on the job, Australia's sleep watchdog warns.

The Sleep Health Foundation is concerned about the growing impact of poor sleep on the workplace, with increasingly tired workers feeling moody, indecisive, unfocused and less alert when performing safety critical tasks.

Figures show sleep problems cost Australian businesses over $3 billion in lost productivity a year from absenteeism and early retirement.

"That's the cost of sickies due to poor sleep, Professor Hillman states, yet this extraordinary cost does not even factor in the cost of employee accidents due to fatigue, or the cost of presenteeism, that is being at work but in a suboptimal state."

Sleep Awareness Week, 'Sleep Better, Be Better'

WHAT: Sleep Awareness Week, 'Sleep Better, Be Better'
WHEN: July 6-12, 2015
WHO: Professor David Hillman, Chair, Sleep Health Foundation, will be available for interviews.

Want to feel smarter, happier and more decisive? The solution is simpler than you think. This year's Sleep Awareness Week promotes getting between seven and nine hours shut eye a night as a means to feel more alert, energized, decisive, happy and less prone to catching winter bugs.

Almost 10,000 serious workplace injuries and more than 25,000 serious road crash injuries are caused by poor alertness each year. The cost to the Australian economy is substantial—over $5 billion a year in lost productivity and healthcare costs, and over $31 billion a year in the loss of healthy life.

Sleep School Push for Truckies & Teens

Truckies and teen drivers need to be taught about the dangers of drowsiness to stop them nodding off at the wheel, important new sleep guidelines warn.

A policy statement led by an Australian researcher for the American Thoracic Society stresses the value of getting 7-9 hours of sleep every night and cautions about the dangers of getting much less or much more.

The document, backed by the Australasian Sleep Association and Sleep Health Foundation, also carries a list of fresh recommendations, including several highlighting the increasing number of sleep-related car crashes and importance of sleep education for drivers.

Speaker Program

As the Sleep Health Foundation (SHF) grows and increases its presence in the community we are receiving more requests from organisations for speakers on a range of topics concerning sleep health. We are keen to meet this need and provide high quality presenters for your next health and well-being presentation to your staff or community group.

Tired Students Need Sleep Ed: Experts

Friday 13 March, 2015 Contact: Lucy Williams 0403 753 028
Melbourne Media: Wales Street Primary School, Thornbury has all the students turning up in pyjamas, making worry dolls and learning about sleep. Journalist can film/photograph/interview students and teachers at 10am on Friday 13th March.

Students who want to boost their marks and their mood should heed this warning from health experts: Get more sleep.

Specialists in sleep science are using World Sleep Day on March 13 to provide Australian and New Zealand schools with the tools to send the message that students should have a regular bed time and try to get 9 hours uninterrupted sleep each night.

Sleep Apps Keep Aussies up at Night

Smartphone apps that promise to track sleep may leave insomniacs so anxious they can't sleep at all, health experts warn.

A flurry of new apps and devices have hit the market in the past year that claim to accurately monitor and even improve the quality and quantity of your sleep.

But specialists at the Sleep Health Foundation say these products must be used with caution, particularly by people with sleep disorders.

"Pouring over data on your sleep can be fun and may even shed some light on how you sleep, but there can be a downside," says Dr Siobhan Banks, Senior Research, Sleep Health Foundation.

List your sleep study

The Sleep Health Foundation has launched a new service for members to help researchers find volunteers for their sleep studies.

The Foundation's website now has a page dedicated to sleep-related studies that can be easily accessed by people wanting to sign up. The page will link potential recruits with study organisers, boosting the pool of new volunteers. 

New Sleep Code Gets Elderly Out of Bed

Many older Australians spend more time in bed than they need to, according to sleep experts who are now armed with the first-ever science-based guidelines for sleep length.

The National Sleep Foundation, America's leading authority on sleep, has published its inaugural age-specific recommended sleep durations based on a rigorous, systematic review of the world scientific literature.

The new sleep code, based on a review of 312 studies from the last decade, has been adopted by Australia's national sleep health advocate, the Sleep Health Foundation.

The foundation's sleep psychologist Professor Dorothy Bruck says it's exciting to be able to offer Australians new guidelines based on hard evidence.

SHF Code of Practice - sign up now!

The Sleep Health Foundation Code of Practice for Suppliers of CPAP Sleep Therapies helps ensure that high quality and consistent standards are adopted by suppliers of therapies for sleep disorders. A comprehensive and considered approach to patients and their treatment is required.

To read more and sign up please click here

One in Two Australians Snuggle up with Technology: Study

Australians routinely take their laptops to bed, keep their mobile phones at their bedside and clock watch in the wee small hours, a survey of sleep habits has revealed.

A web study of 1,500 people by the Sleep Health Foundation shows Australians are indulging in bed time activities that significantly boost their chances of a bad night's sleep.

The foundation's sleep psychologist Professor Dorothy Bruck says she was most concerned by results showing 45 per cent of those surveyed regularly used a laptop, electronic devices or watched TV in bed.

"A standard guideline for good sleep is that the bed should be reserved for sleep and intimacy only," Professor Bruck says. "So it was alarming to learn that so many people were using their sleep sanctuary to email, cruise the web and watch movies, all activities that are not conducive to sleep."

Bedtime Secrets Help Babies Sleep Like Babies

An innovative new web tool reveals the sleep secrets of babies, spelling the end of sleepless nights for hundreds of Australian mums and dads.

Studies show a third of new parents struggle to get their baby to sleep, and this frustrating problem triples the risk of postnatal depression among mothers.

Sleep experts are hoping to turn the tide on these statistics with an interactive online infant sleep program that educates health professionals giving advice to worried parents.

The hour-long eLearning course sets out clear guidelines on how parents can get children aged six to 18 months to fall asleep alone and self-settle when they wake in the night.

Coffee, Cats and iPhones rob Australians of Good Sleep

Uncomfortable pyjamas, a late night whisky and whining pets are stopping hundreds of Australians from getting the good night's sleep they need, sleep experts warn.

The bedroom should be a sanctuary for sleep but specialists at the Sleep Health Foundation say young and old alike are forgetting the most basic rules of a healthy night's rest.

"Great sleep relies on a quiet room, a relaxed mind and a comfortable bed," Professor Dorothy Bruck, Sleep Psychologist at the Sleep Health Foundation says ahead of Sleep Awareness Week, which starts on Monday, September 29.

See full media release

World Sleep Day March 2014

Research shows 40 per cent of children have poor sleep schedules and 20 per cent are sleep deprived.

Sleep is vital for healthy bodies and minds, but worrying research shows one in five Australian children don't get enough of it.

Sleep specialists are using World Sleep Day on March 14 to head into schools across Australia and New Zealand armed with a powerful message.

"You need a good night's sleep if you want to grow strong, think clearly and feel good," says sleep researcher Dr Sarah Biggs, coordinator of the event co-hosted by the Australasian Sleep Association and Sleep Health Foundation.

See full media release

Sleep disorders: a practical guide for health care practitioners.

This Medical Journal of Australia Supplement on Sleep Disorders is a unique resource for Australian health professionals providing information on the importance of sleep health, as well as diagnosis and best practice treatment of sleep disorders. 

To view or download, please click here.

World Sleep Day 2013

Many older adults believe that sleep problems are just part of getting older but this is a myth which is being exposed on World Sleep Day – 15 March 2013.

Professor David Hillman, President, Sleep Health Foundation said, “Research has shown that approximately 50 percent of older adults report difficulty sleeping.

“This is of great concern because we know that poor sleep in the elderly has been shown to contribute to decreased quality of life, more symptoms of depression and anxiety, slower reaction times, memory problems, issues with balance and vision, increasing risk of falls, and even death.

CRC for Alertness, Safety and Productivity

The Cooperative Research Centres (CRC) programme is an Australian Government Initiative administered by the Department of Industry, Innovation, Science, Research and Tertiary Education. The CRC program supports end user driven research collaborations to address major challenges facing Australia. CRCs pursue solutions to these challenges that are innovative, of high impact and capable of being effectively deployed by the end users.On the 16th February 2013 the Prime Minister announced the latest round of Funding approvals for this programme.  Among the four programs approved was the CRC for Alertness, Safety and Productivity with a budget of $14.48 million.  Its purpose is to reduce the burden of impaired alertness on the safety, productivity and health of all Australians

School students jet lagged for school start

Sleep experts are urging parents to start adjusting their child’s sleep schedule now if they want them to avoid feeling jet lagged for the first few weeks of school.

Professor Dorothy Bruck, Sleep Psychologist, Victoria University said, “Getting students back into early morning starts for school can be difficult.  For some, moving from a holiday routine to a school routine is like travelling across a three hour time zone.”

International studies have shown that an alarming four out of ten high school students report levels of daytime sleepiness well beyond the normal range.  For most of these students the reason is simply not getting enough sleep.

Truck Drivers Urged to Make Sleep A Priority

Australia’s leading sleep associations are urging the trucking industry to make sleep a priority when they are off duty.

During TruckWeek 2012 the Australasian Sleep Association and the Sleep Health Foundation are raising awareness of the importance of getting adequate sleep in between shifts.

Dr David Hillman, Chair, Sleep Health Foundation said, “A workplace can be considered ‘best practice’ but fatigue related accidents will still occur if drivers don’t get adequate sleep before they start a shift.

“Sleep should be seen as a priority, it is essential for safety and well-being that truck drivers obtain sufficient sleep away from work in order to perform at their optimum when on duty.”

Australia's Sleepiness Epidemic time to stop dying from lack of sleep

Survey results released by the Australian Sleep Health Foundation show a high percentage of Australians are suffering from fatigue and exhaustion on a daily basis due to inadequate or ineffective sleep.

Professor David Hillman, President, Sleep Health Foundation said, “In Australia at least nine per cent of serious road crashes are due to fatigue, this equals 25,920 injuries per annum with associated costs of $277,912.00 per accident. In the workplace there are currently 9,584 fatigue related injuries per annum, each costing $131,912.00.  “It is time for people to make sleep a priority: 18 per cent of adults regularly sleep less than six hours per night and 20 percent suffer chronically from poor sleep, half of these from a sleep disorder and the remainder from poor sleep habits.”