Did you know one in three Australians do not get enough adequate sleep each night?

So, how much sleep do you need each night?

As we get older, we tend to need less sleep. International guidelines suggest young people aged 12-14 years should get between 9-11 hours, while those aged 14-17 need between 8-10. Adults, those aged 18 and over, generally need 7-9 hours of sleep.

This week (Monday, August 3 – Sunday, August 9, 2020) marks Sleep Awareness Week, an annual event in Australia dedicated to raising awareness on the importance of sleep to our overall health and wellness.

A big focus of Sleep Awareness Week 2020 is the relationship between sleep and anxiety, depression and stress, which is particularly pertinent given the catastrophic summer bushfires and COVID-19 pandemic faced by Australians this year.

According to the Sleep Health Foundation, sleep is the third pillar of health alongside nutrition and physical exercise. The COVID-19 pandemic and the subsequent health and economic impacts of the virus have left many feeling highly anxious and stressed, which can often lead to difficultly sleeping.

The Sleep Foundation Australia has provided tips on how to improve your sleep habits during these trying times:

  1. Limit media exposure – make sure are reading accurate and reliable information from official websites.   
  2. Dedicate time to unwind – Make sure that you consume non COVID-19 related news before bed so that you have time to relax before bed.
  3. Take care of your body – Keep a healthy routine throughout the day. Exercise, eat well, and avoid drinking excessive amounts of alcohol.
  4. Connect with others – Try to talk through worries before you go to bed. Speak to a trusted individual.
  5. Take care of your mind – As well as your body, make sure you take measures to take care of your mind. Listen to calming sleep apps, write down your worries on paper.
  6. Your bed is predominantly for sleep – Make sure you perform non-sleeping related activities away from your bed. Go back to bed when you are ready to sleep.
  7. Keep a regular sleep-wake routine – Try to keep your sleep routine consistent. Ensure you are going to bed and waking up around the same time each night.