01 October 2018

Third of adults getting too little sleep

Around a third of Western Australian adults are not getting the recommended hours of sleep (external link) for optimal health and wellbeing.

The latest report of the State’s Health and Wellbeing Surveillance System shows that while overall Western Australians aged 16 and over are averaging 7.1 hours of sleep a night, a third (32.1 per cent) are falling short of their recommended number of sleep hours.

The report also reveals the State’s over 65s are the group least likely to be getting optimal hours of kip. Around a third are falling shy of the seven to eight hours recommended for their age bracket but a further 10.7 per cent are also sleeping for longer than recommended.

WA’s A/Chief Health Officer Dr Andrew Robertson described the findings as concerning saying that a good night’s sleep was not just about feeling well rested but was also critical to overall health and wellbeing.

“In the short-term, insufficient sleep can lead to reduced work productivity and – in the case of workplace accidents or motor vehicle crashes – serious injury or death”, Dr Robertson said.

“For those with chronic sleeping conditions, it is also associated with heart disease and mental health problems.”

“Inadequate sleep costs Australia billions of dollars a year in healthcare expenditure and lost productivity. More importantly though, it can lead to serious consequences for individuals and their families.”

The Health and Wellbeing of Adults in Western Australia 2017, Overview and Trends is based on telephone interviews conducted with almost 6000 Western Australians between January and December last year.

These interviews form part of the Health and Wellbeing Surveillance System, a continuous survey that has been monitoring the health and wellbeing of the WA community since 2002.

Other findings of this latest report include that:

  • a quarter of survey respondents (25.5 per cent) reported being in better health than they were a year earlier
  • about one in six adults reported being diagnosed with a mental health condition in the past 12 months – for women aged 16 to 44 years the rate was even higher (28.2 per cent)
  • a significant increase in the proportion of WA adults reporting they ‘never’ consume meals from fast food outlets – 42.4 per cent from 31.4 per cent in 2007
  • around a third of adults (32.2 per cent) were estimated to be obese.

Every month 550 to 600 people from across the State are selected at random to participate in the survey.

Each interview takes about 25 minutes and includes standard questions covering lifestyle risk factors and health conditions.

The information collected can be used to evaluate the effectiveness of public health campaigns or examine particular health-related issues.


Media contact: 9222 4333

Follow us on Twitter: @WAHealth