The Federal Government announces parliamentary inquiry

The Australian Government has initiated a parliamentary inquiry into whether Australians are getting enough sleep – and there are already more than 100 submissions.

As not getting enough sleep can have negative health impacts and even shorten life expectancy, the Government wants to focus on this element as much as diet and fitness as a precursor to health problems.

Australia’s current sleep situation

Figures show up to one in five Australians report they’re sleeping less than six hours each night, despite the recommended seven or eight hours needed.

According to Liberal MP Trent Zimmerman, sleep problems across the nation are increasing and Australian authorities are concerned.

“Sleep problems are a growing and large problem in Australia, and in fact, the research that we’ve seen indicates that something like four out of ten Australians are not getting adequate sleep on a regular basis,” Mr Zimmerman said.

“We know that sleep is just so vital to our bodily functions, be it our mental health, be it our alertness or our performance ability, so it is a growing problem that we need to shine a light on.”

Mr Zimmerman also said the inquiry would specifically look at occupations deemed most vulnerable, including shift workers.

“Sixteen per cent of Australians are shift workers and many of those are in professions, for example, occupational drivers, where they are making decisions which can have life-or-death impacts,” Mr Zimmerman said.

“We want to look at, effectively, what support and advice and education there is for those that are in the workforce that are having disrupted sleep because of the work that they’re expected to undertake.”

How you can improve sleep

While there may be an underlying reason behind getting to sleep at night, there are a few simple steps you can take to help get the recommended eight hours each night.

These include:

  • Limit screen time before bed
  • Avoid caffeine or heavy meals before bed
  • Try a herbal tea or warm milk before bed.

If you’re finding it difficult sleeping at night, visit your regular GP.