Gross laundry mistake ruining your sleep
Sleep problems are painfully common.
But getting a good night's rest can be compromised by habits in our daily lives which is why Sleep Health Foundation created World Sleep Day, which falls on March 19 in 2021, to highlight its importance as a pillar of health.
In Australia, research shows more than half of adult Australians are suffering from at least one chronic sleep symptom, affecting ability to live a healthy, happy life.
During the COVID-19 pandemic, sleep took another hit, with a new study conducted by Blackmores revealing almost half of Aussies were affected by a dive in their sleep quality in the last year, bought on by financial worries, changes in work and living environments and loss of income.
Similarly a global study by Phillips Healthcare found 64 per cent of Australians have experienced one or more new sleep challenges since the beginning of COVID-19, with 44 per cent of Australians stating they now wake up during the night since the pandemic began.
This was supported by new research from Medibank that revealed approximately 2.5 million of us described our sleep in the past 12 months as "the worst" in their life.
"COVID-19 has exacerbated the challenges Australians are facing when trying to get good sleep, Dr. Shantha Rajaratnam, Chair of Sleep Health Foundation told news.com.au
"While we've seen a trend towards increased sleep problems over a number of years, COVID-19 has certainly caused this trend to spike in the last 12 months.
"A number of studies, including the report by Philips, show that sleep has been impacted by the pandemic, with some cases showing poorer sleep quality commonly associated with increased mental health symptoms."
Dr Rajaratnam went on to explain some of the central factors contributing to Australians having poorer quality sleep include increased stress - due the virus, general uncertainty about the future, lower financial and job security, and relationship conflicts as a result of changing lifestyles.
"Commonly, isolation and loneliness as well as reduced outdoor light exposure and physical activity can also play a significant role in poor sleep quality," he said.
"It's important to keep in mind, though, that some peoples' sleep actually improved during the pandemic.
"This is possibly due to the increased flexibility in work schedules, the lack of a daily commute to the office, and the ability to sleep and wake up at times that are more aligned with the individual's circadian clock."
If you're struggling to get some decent shut eye, there are a lot of steps you can take to help improve the quality of your sleep - and there's also a few things to avoid if you're trying to boost those Zzz's.
YOU'RE NOT WASHING YOUR PJ'S ENOUGH
It sounds gross, but lots of us aren't washing our nightwear enough, making them a breeding ground for microbes and other potentially nasty bugs, which can affect ability to sleep by irritating skin and breathing.
Experts advise you change them every three to four nights is the maximum, but if you're prone to night sweats or have particularly sweaty and/or oily skin, you should consider washing your pyjamas more often.
The best material to sleep in is widely regarded to be silk as it keeps you warm and cool at the same time but it can be expensive to buy. But there's plenty of options if you're willing to invest.
YOUR PARTNER IS RUINING YOUR SLEEP
There's nothing worse than falling asleep only to be woken up by something suddenly in the night - and according to new research one of the most common sleep disturbances is your partner.
New research recently discovered 50 per cent of Australians are woken-up at night by their partner moving and 55 per cent of these wake them up multiple times. How annoying.
Short of sleeping in different beds, Australian brand Koala set out to solve the issue by creating a mattress with "Zero Disturbance technology" - essentially meaning it absorbs the impact of the other person moving so you don't have to.
When it was released in 2015, the brand created a red wine test, that went viral on social media. It showed someone jumping on the $950 mattress while a glass of red wine balanced on top. Viewers expected to see the wine glass topple, but instead it stayed upright. It was quickly branded a "game-changer" by shoppers and has been a bestseller ever since.
COVID-19 STRESSED AWAY YOUR GOOD NIGHT'S KIP
That damn pandemic has a lot to answer for - including our beloved eight hours a night. Stress-related insomnia due to the coronavirus pandemic was identified by The Cleveland Clinic late last year and it is still having a major effect today. According to sleep psychologist Michelle Drerup, it is caused by an unnerving mix of uncertainty and stress and can have a big negative impact on your health.
"When someone is chronically sleep-deprived they tend to have lowered immunity and that makes our susceptibility to viruses higher," she told the publication.
New data from Apple shows many of us have been trying to ease our nightly stress using podcasts, apps and "chilled" music playlists.
EASY TIPS FOR EFFECTIVE SLEEP HABITS
- Establish a regular, relaxing bedtime routine such as soaking in a hot bath, reading a book or listening to soothing music. You could also try a relaxing night-time skincare routine to get you in the mood for rest.
- Use your bedroom only for sleep to strengthen the association between bed and sleep - so no more Netflix in bed
- Avoid caffeine and alcohol within six hours of bedtime
- Set a sleep goal using an app - Sleep Cycle has been voted one of the "best" tracking apps on Apple
- Maintain regular sleeping patterns, including on weekends (that means no sleeping in - here's why)
- If you've been lying awake in bed for a long time, get up and try doing something relaxing, like reading or watching television
- Listen to a podcast to distract your mind. One of the most popular is Sleep With Me - this is why people love it
- Exercise regularly, aiming for at least 20-30 minutes of movement outdoors each day.
Originally published as Gross laundry mistake ruining your sleep