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(By: Janelsa Ou) - We hated doing it when we were children, as teenagers we did it for endless hours and as adults we can’t seem to get enough of it – sleep.

It’s easy to fall into the trap of thinking sleep should be a low priority, particularly when we see global CEOs bragging about how few hours a night they get, or their ridiculously early wake up times – but that’s simply wrong.

A study put out by the Sleep Health Foundation found that 33 to 45 per cent of Aussie adults are getting poor quality sleep or not enough of it.

Brisbane home doctor Ryan Harvey said insufficient sleep had a major impact on work performance and relationships.

"The average person gets less than the recommended seven hours’ sleep and this can lead to a manner of outcomes," Dr Harvey said.

"Moods can change so that people become irritable and frustrated, leading to arguments.

"Much more seriously, a lack of sleep dramatically reduces our focus and attention to detail which in cases like a car crash, can have fatal consequences."

4 ways to get better sleep

1. No caffeine
We want to wind down before going to bed so limit stimulating beverages such as coffee in the hours leading up to your bedtime. Caffeine stays in your system for four to six hours, so make sure you plan ahead and rethink that afternoon coffee.

2. Switch off
Get screens out of the room. Switch off smart devices, TVs, laptops and other screens that emit blue light, make noises and vibrate. Replace your mobile with an analogue alarm clock so you can leave your phone well out of reach.

3. Get moving
Rid yourself of that extra energy by exercising daily for about 30 minutes. It doesn’t have to be intense but enough to work up a sweat.

4. Eat early
Eat whole grain foods and protein, such as chicken and nuts, two to three hours before bed. These can trigger a change in serotonin levels, which can encourage sleep.

Sleep is a powerful tool that is often taken for granted by people everywhere, so do yourself a favor and get some rest.

As humans we often take sleep for granted misusing and abusing its power, forgetting what sleep does.

Just one night without sleep has been comparable to a having a blood alcohol of 0.10%

Memory is impaired and if lack of sleep continues, there could be long term effects.

Lack of sleep also infringes on our oxygen intake, and speech causing us to slur words and forget what we’re saying.

Tasks get harder to complete and a person gets cranky easier. Your heart rate increases, your brain will fall into a micro-sleep while you’re still awake and you may start seeing things.

 

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