The Sleep Health Foundation welcomes the Productivity Commission’s final report and recommendations regarding Mental Health in Australia. We are pleased to see the important role sleep can play being highlighted in terms of helping people to maintain their mental health, and in preventing mental health problems, and via these pathways highlighting that sleep can have a potentially important role to play in reducing suicide risk.
Lifestyle factors including getting enough sleep, regular exercise and eating a healthy diet can reduce the risk of mental ill‑health and work in conjunction with clinical treatments.
The below excerpts from the report:
"Sleep and mental health can be related to each other in multiple ways, and a range of evidence was presented to the Productivity Commission in relation to this topic. On the one hand, symptoms of anxiety disorders, such as stress and restlessness, can interfere with sleep cycles. On the other hand, poor sleep and sleep disorders can increase the risk of developing mental ill‑health, exacerbate symptoms of mental illness and limit treatment efficacy (Meelo, Havekes and Steiger 2015; Sleep Health Foundation, sub. 767). Insomnia can contribute to depression and anxiety, among other mental disorders (Pigeon, Bishop and Krueger 2017). The effects of inadequate sleep can exacerbate the negative effects of mental illness, such as poor concentration and memory, emotional regulation and motivation and energy levels (ASA, sub. 672; David Hillman, sub. 586; Ron Grunstein and Rick Wassing, sub. 717). Treatment of sleep disorders can be beneficial in reducing some symptoms of mental illness, such as paranoia and hallucinations (Freeman et al. 2017)."
FINDING 1.1 FACTORS AFFECTING MENTAL HEALTH AND WELLBEING
A person’s mental health reflects the interaction of a lifetime of individual and lifestyle factors with a range of environmental, community and family risk factors. Regular exercise, eating a healthy diet and consistently getting enough sleep can reduce the risks of mental illness. But genetic vulnerability and experiences such as trauma, socioeconomic disadvantage, isolation, discrimination and environmental stressors can all harm people’s mental health and wellbeing.
We congratulate the Government on the great work it is doing in this area and encourage it to release its report on the findings of the Parliamentary Inquiry into Sleep Health Awareness in Australia.
The Government is seeking your views on the final recommendations in the Productvity Commission Report, particularly with respect to priorities and implementation issues. Previous submissions made to the Productvity Commission as part of the Inquiry should not be re-submitted.