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Kiwi’s Broken Sleep Wreaking Havoc On Productivity, Anxiety, And Sex Drive

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New Zealand, March 15, 2024 – Almost half (46%) of Kiwis are only getting one to three good nights sleep every week impacting work productivity, relationships, and sex drive, according to new research.

The ResMed 2024 Global Sleep Survey assessed more than 36,000 people across 17 countries, including 1000 Kiwis, to gain insights and understanding of worldwide sleep habits ahead of World Sleep Day on March 15.

More than half of New Zealanders (56%) are unable to sleep soundly throughout the night. Of those, nearly a quarter (23%) said they have experienced interrupted sleep for “as long as they can remember”.

“This sort of disrupted sleep has wide ranging impacts on peoples’ work lives, their family life, and personal health and well-being,” says Terri Candy, Sleep Physiologist at EdenSleep by ResMed.

“The potential for workplace accidents increases, a person’s ability to drive is impacted, and decision-making processes are affected. People are feeling flat, exhausted, and unmotivated because of a lack of quality sleep which makes working to their best near impossible.”

She says the effects of multiple bad sleeps each week are highlighted by respondents reporting excessive daytime sleepiness (56%), being more irritable (46%) and morning headaches (36%).

Symptoms of sleep apnea

Candy says these effects can be symptoms of sleep apnea, a chronic disease where the muscles of the throat relax to the point of collapse, restricting airflow and causing the person to stop breathing repeatedly throughout the night.

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“These periods when a person isn’t breathing fragments and disrupts sleep leading to fatigue and tiredness which contributes to things like irritability and headaches.”

She says while morning headaches can occur for several reasons, such as drinking alcohol, they are also caused by a lack of oxygen overnight when people stop breathing.

Particularly concerning is that according to the survey almost half (43%) of New Zealanders do not know what sleep apnea is.

“While almost a fifth [16%] of New Zealanders have a diagnosed history of sleep apnea it is important to note that there are many people out there who are living, and sleeping with a condition that is disrupting their lives yet with the right help it can be treated.”

Sleepless in Aotearoa

In its fourth year, the 2024 ResMed Global Sleep Survey is the most comprehensive to date and included New Zealand for the first time.

  • The top three reasons keeping Kiwis awake are personal anxiety (41%), financial pressures (32%), and frequent trips to the bathroom (31%)
  • Almost a quarter (24%) said family or relationship issues keep them awake
  • Almost a fifth (16%) say poor quality sleep kills their sex drive
  • Nearly three quarters (73%) of menopausal or perimenopausal women in New Zealand said they suffer from disturbed sleep, low quality sleep (63%), and sleep apnea (20%
  • Over three fifths (63%)of New Zealanders use a device before they go to bed to scroll social media, email, or check messages.

Kiwis discover their sleep superpowers

Among the top benefits experienced by New Zealanders after a good night of sleep included improved concentration (57%), increased productivity (57%), and patience (47%), as well as being able to exercise (57%).

“Something like patience is a big one because no one wants to be a grumpy mum or dad with their kids or their partner, but if you’re not sleeping well during the week then it will have an effect,” says Candy.

The survey also found people are becoming more curious about how they sleep, with almost a fifth (18%) tracking their sleep either through a wearable device (46%) or a smartphone app (36%).

“Sleep affects our metabolism, our mood, and our energy levels. So good quality sleep helps incredibly in terms of our health. Improving sleep doesn't need to be complicated, with the first step recognising if it’s a problem and getting support,” says Candy.

Carlos, M. Nunez M.D, ResMed Chief Medical Officer says sleep is the third pillar of health, alongside diet and exercise, so prioritising sleep is one of the most effective ways to improve your overall health.

“With over 936 million people around the world affected by sleep apnea[1], it is concerning to learn that, of the 36,000 people we surveyed, 4-in-10 get less than three good nights of sleep a week.

“This World Sleep Day we want to empower people to take charge of their sleep health, understand the symptoms of sleep apnea, and have conversations with their healthcare provider as poor sleep can be an indicator of conditions such as sleep apnea.”

To take a free online sleep assessment go to: https://www.edensleep.co.nz/

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