Study Highlights Health Importance of Sleep

While much attention has been given to the importance of physical activity and nutrition, especially in light of the recent reforms which saw many a household making a health insurance comparison to find the best available deal, very little has been said about the importance of sleep. Meanwhile, not neglecting sleep is also essential. We all know it’s good for us and most of us feel better after it but how much do we need and does it really have that much of an impact on our bodies? A new report in circulation has indicated that it’s probably more important than you realise and, if you want to know why you are feeling under the weather so often these days, getting a few extra hours of shut eye a night could be the answer you’ve been looking for.

A survey conducted on a national level has found that nearly one in three Australians is not getting enough sleep for optimal physical and mental health and performance. The survey found that people who get less than six hours of sleep a night have a much lower sense of wellbeing and a lower standard of living.

The survey was conducted across a sample of 2,000 people and found that people who got between seven and nine hours of sleep a night (roughly 65% of respondents) demonstrated higher scores when it came to lifestyle satisfaction especially in areas such as personal relationships, general health and quality of life. The other 35% revealed significantly lower levels of satisfaction and lower wellness scores, according to the survey’s index, and highlighted that the less sleep a person gets, the lower their standard of health was likely to be. A similar study run by HelpMeChoose, found similar results.

Respondents who reported nine hours of sleep a night reflected a self-assessed wellness score of 78.4% while those receiving at least seven hours a night had a 76.2% wellness score on the survey index. 22% of respondents got six hours of sleep and reported a 73% wellness score while the 6.5% of people sleeping for five hours a night reported only a 71% satisfaction rating. While there were only 2.8% getting four hours a night, the scores plunged to only 65.7% wellness satisfaction. The results of the survey proved to be consistent across all age groups. Interestingly the survey also found that people who slept for more than nine hours a night had lower standards of health compared to those getting seven to nine hours.

The Adelaide Institute for Sleep Health commented on the survey and questioned whether sleep was a symptoms or a cause of poor health, citing that people with high levels of anxiety, stress and those with mental health problems frequently experienced disruptions in their sleep patterns, and that issues those illnesses could be underlying the trends. The AISH also argued that while sleep certainly played an important role in general health maintenance there were other factors that needed to be taken into account as well.

A spokesperson for the Brain and Mind Institute at Sydney University conceded that both quantity and quality of sleep were equally important considerations for general health and that sleeping for longer but getting poor quality sleep would not necessarily improve overall wellness or general health.

Striking a balance between exercise and rest and ensuring your diet is meeting your body’s nutritional needs is an essential part of staying healthy, especially for those doing a health insurance comparison to ensure they have access to the best possible medical care.

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