Media releases 2017

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Southern Cross welcomes media inquiries about any health related topics.

Media contact: Janine Kendall, Senior Communications Advisor, Mobile: 021 375 167
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More sleep for deprived New Zealanders Saturday night

Friday, 31 March 2017 by Janine Kendall

With daylight saving time ending Saturday night, sleep-deprived New Zealanders can look forward to an extra hour of sleep. And for some of us, that could be just what the doctor ordered.

A recent Southern Cross Health Society survey looking at the health and wellbeing of New Zealanders has revealed more than a fifth (21%) of us feel tired or fatigued every day, with this rising to 27% of people aged under 40.

Females are more likely to feel fatigued nearly every day (27%) and when waking up (30%) than males (15% and 18% respectively).

The survey also showed that 86% of New Zealanders aged over 18 would rather have a full night’s sleep than a great night out.

Even more alarmingly, about a quarter (26%) of New Zealanders revealed they have fallen asleep at work, in a meeting or while driving.

Southern Cross Health Society Head of Product and Marketing, Chris Watney, says the survey demonstrates how important sleep is to New Zealanders, but suggests that we aren’t getting enough to promote good health.

The research also showed what activities Kiwis undertake in the hour before sleep, with watching TV or DVDs and using a device for entertainment being most common:

  • Watching TV or DVDs – 65%
  • Using an electronic device for entertainment – 48%
  • Reading – 40%
  • Working on a computer or device – 29%
  • Listening to the radio – 11%.

The research shows that a large number of us are looking at electronic screens in that period before sleep, which could be a big part of the problem. Scientific data suggests that the mental stimulation and light exposure that comes from looking at screens promotes wakefulness.

Good pre-sleep habits can help the brain relax, and encourage a better night’s sleep.

Along with no electronic screens before bed, avoid caffeine too late in the day. Try to go to sleep and wake up at the same time every day, have a pre-bed routine, and aim to get at least eight hours of sleep each night.

Incorporating regular exercise in your daily routine is another good way to improve quality of sleep, but avoid doing it too close to bed time.

A lot of people will use the extra hour that comes with the end of daylight saving to have a lie in. That could be a perfect opportunity to consider whether an extra hour of quality sleep every day might have a health and wellbeing benefit,” says Watney.