Sleep issues highlighted in new book
Recent surveys show that 37% of New Zealand adults never or rarely get enough sleep, and one in four has a chronic sleep problem.
Sleep in the 24-Hour Society, the first book by noted New Zealand sleep scientist Dr Philippa Gander, provides a resource where non-specialists can learn about the science of sleep and the effects of the 24-hour society, and how to apply that knowledge in everyday life.
The book explains the circadian clock, which programmes our brains and bodies to prepare us for wakefulness during the day and sleep at night, and the stages and states of sleep.
As well as providing general advice for increasing your chances of a good night's sleep, Dr Gander looks at the specific challenges of shiftwork and jet lag. Examples range across different industries including pilots, air traffic controllers, oil rig workers, truck drivers, locomotive engineers, and anaesthetists. Dr Gander provides strategies for shiftworkers to help improve their own sleep, and maintain their alertness and safety in the workplace. Strategies for companies are also considered, including education and training, and roster design and management.
The overriding message? Make sleep a priority, says Dr Gander. 'Internationally there is mounting concern that inadequate sleep may be one of the biggest public health issues that we face. Insufficient sleep leaves us less functional during the day. It can make us irritable, weaken our immune systems, reduce our productivity and make us more accident-prone.'