Australia is in a sleep deprivation epidemic, counting sheep can't save us now

A “sleepiness epidemic” has hit, leaving us fatigued, irritable and potentially unwell.

By Katie Skelly
This is why Australian’s aren’t sleeping

Sweet dreams appear to be a thing of the past as Australia continues to toss and turn in a sleep deprivation epidemic worse than ever before.

Researchers at the Sleep Foundation and The University of Adelaide have found that 33 to 45 per cent of us are experiencing poor sleep quality and/or quantity come bed time, resulting in a decrease in the nation’s productivity and mental health.

The research, published today in the international Sleep Health Journal, explains the reason for our inability to catch those coveted ZZZs not to be the almost unlivable weather, but rather to be all thanks to time spent online in the moments before bed.

“Overall, 44 per cent of adults are on the internet just before bed almost every night and 59 per cent of these late night workers, web surfers, movie watchers or online gamers have more than two sleep problems,” says Dr David Hillman, a director of the foundation.

So, how the heck are we all meant to get some decent shut-eye?

Go camping

Research published in the journal Current Biology found getting back to nature to be extremely beneficial for a good night’s sleep.

Why? Scientists found that over a two week study period, participants’ biological clocks began to sync up with environmental light exposure, meaning that come dusk, it was time to call it a night.

Wear socks

Swiss research has found warm hands and feet to be the key to rapid sleep onset. Shifting bloodflow from your core to your extremities helps cool the body and boots the production of the sleep hormone melatonin.

Not only that, they’ll also help you achieve orgasm in the sack! Win-win.

Splash cold water on your face

While one may assume a face full of icy water to wake you up, science has shown that doing so actually has the opposite effect for a person struggling to nod off at the hands of a whirling brain.

Immersing your face in cool water for 30 seconds is said to trigger an involuntary phenomenon called the ‘Mammalian Dive Reflex’, which steadies heart rate, lowers blood pressure and essentially resets your nervous system.