Gen-X, baby boomers need more sleep

Close to a quarter of all Australians are working at less than full capacity because they are sleep deprived, a new survey of the sleeping habits of more than 3000 people around the country has found.

And it isn’t the young Gen-Ys partying the night away who are the problem, but their more sober Gen-X and baby boomer colleagues, with the study finding that workers in the 40 to 65 age bracket are most likely to be chronically sleep deprived.

The Australian reports that over 13% of working age people surveyed described the usual amount of sleep they got as markedly or very insufficient, while 10% said it was markedly or very unsatisfactory.

More than 18% reported getting less than 6.5 hours sleep a night on average, the minimum amount of sleep scientists believe most people need to function normally.

The concentration of sleep deprived people in the 40 to 65 age bracket reflected the fact that middle aged people were often at the busiest stage of their working lives and “tend to give up sleep so they can work, exercise or party,” according to psychologist Delwyn Barlett, the report’s lead author.

There are significant work and safety implications associated with sleep deprivation, with tired employees likely to take much longer to perform even simple tasks.

“Those who report being chronically sleep restricted in this study are potentially damaging their functional abilities, impairing immune function and increasing their risk of diabetes and cardiovascular disease,” the study says.



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