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.
The pledge: Turn off your TV, computer, tablet or smart phone at least one hour earlier than you normally would and consider going to bed.
“What better way to celebrate World Sleep Day on Friday, March 17 than to wake up feeling fantastically well-slept and alert,” says Sleep Health Foundation Chair and Sleep Psychologist, Professor Dorothy Bruck. “We urge Australians, young and old, to rise to the challenge by flicking the off switch on their devices and enjoying the benefits – a calmer, more relaxed bedtime and a longer, deeper sleep.”
Adults should have 7-8 hours of sleep each night but studies indicate that a third of the population routinely fail to get enough. Recent Sleep Health Foundation research found that 44 per cent of Australian adults are on the internet just before bed almost every night. “That’s a concerning number of people delaying bedtime with devices that actually make good sleep harder to attain.” says Professor Bruck.
Their research also found that more than half of those who are glued to their screens late into the evening - late night workers, web surfers, movie watchers or online gamers - reported more than two sleep problems.
“We believe that this association between before-bed screen time and having sleep problems is no co-incidence”, says Australasian Sleep Association President Dr Maree Barnes. The short-wavelength blue light from screens blocks the natural sleep hormone melatonin, which is produced by our brains to help us go to sleep and sleep well through the night. "If you are looking at a screen just before going to bed, you are sabotaging your sleep."
“Night time screen use has also been shown to shift the body clock, making you more likely to rise in the morning feeling groggy and unrefreshed,” she says. “That’s bad news for those wanting to wake up bright and alert for a busy day.”
The two leading sleep advocacy groups have banded together to encourage participants to count back from when they need to get up, to work out when they need to go to bed to get the 7-8 hours of sleep that they need.
“Make sure you’re leaving yourself enough time to have that golden 7-8 hours of shut eye,” Professor Bruck says. “If it doesn’t add up, bring your bedtime forward. You’ll thank yourself in the morning.”
Professor Bruck asks, “To celebrate World Sleep Day, we are urging people to switch off their screens one hour earlier the night before, to make sure that you have 7 – 8 hours of sleep and wake up bright and refreshed in the morning..
“On World Sleep Day, go to the Sleep Health Foundation website and tell us how you much better you feel with that extra hour of sleep.”
For further information, contact on (02) 8814 8655.
The Sleep Challenge
What: Swap Screen Time for Sleep Time this Thursday.
Complete this short questionnaire on Thursday evening
How: Visit https://www.sleephealthfoundation.org.au and pledge to switch off screens one hour early to wake up feeling refreshed and alert on World Sleep Day, Friday, March 17.
Why: National guidelines recommend adults have at least 7-8 hours of sleep each night but studies show a third of Australians are not getting enough, often due to evening screen use.