Today I want to talk about something that we just aren’t getting enough of.  With increasing work hours and being online 24/7 there is something important we – and our kids – are in danger of losing forever… a good night’s sleep.

Inadequate sleep has been linked with heart disease, cancer, obesity and immune deficiency. Your brain needs sleep as well as your body: anxiety and depression, impaired memory and cognitive function along with learning difficulties have all been linked to lack of sleep.

And it’s not just our health that’s at risk.  Fatigue causes more deaths on the road than alcohol. 40% of Australian people are so tired at work they fall asleep during work hours. Just 1.5 hours loss of sleep reduces daytime alertness by 32%. In fact, the annual cost to the government of sleep disorders is over $5 billion! But how did we get so tired?

Adults need 8 hours of sleep per night but the number rises to 9 hours for teens and 10 hours for 10 year olds. But these age-old recommendations seem to have gone out the window in the online age. One third of 11 to 18 year olds keep mobile devices in their rooms at night and 86% of students use the internet after lights out. A natural consequence is that 30% of children and adolescents have behavioural sleep issues and those that do report increased levels of depression.

What to do?  It’s so simple it seems crazy that we even need to remind ourselves. DON’T HAVE ANY DEVICES IN YOUR SLEEPING ROOM. Schedule the right number of hours per night for your age. Stick to it. Turn off the lights and start counting sheep.

But for some it’s not that easy, especially when poor sleep hygiene habits have formed. So below is an information factsheet to help if you are having problems.

There are many aspects to good sleep hygiene and one of the big ones is exercise.  It makes you tired! So be sure to practice your physie routines full out for 20 minutes EVERY day, even if it’s not your regular class day. Even if you’re feeling tired, the strange thing about exercise is that it actually energises you.  And when it’s time for lights out, your body and your brain will thank you.

Good luck. And good night!