June 2018

Sleepiness 'epidemic' costing global economies billions

SMH comments on a recent Sleep Journal Publication

Published in The Sydney Morning herald 06 June 2018:

"Lack of sleep has become a "worldwide epidemic" costing developed nations, including Australia, billions of dollars in lost productivity, accidents on roads and in the workplace, poor health and premature death, research has found.

Advances in communications technology across time zones has made it easier and more tempting to work during the late night hours when we would otherwise be sleeping.

There is also an increasing prevalence of sleep disorders including insomnia and obstructive sleep apnoea....

A new study in the journal SLEEP, published by Oxford University Press this week has found lack of sleep is a growing problem that costs the Australian economy more than $66 billion in lost productivity, workplace injuries, car accidents and illnesses including heart disease, stroke and diabetes, among other factors.

Study co-author David Hillman from the Sir Charles Gairdner Hospital in Perth said the study looked at the financial costs including those associated with health care, productivity losses including presenteeism and absenteesim and inefficiencies related to lost taxation revenue and welfare payments. It also looked at the non-financial costs of a loss of well-being.

“We are in the midst of a worldwide epidemic of inadequate sleep, some from clinical sleep disorders, some through pressure from competing work, social and family activities and some from failure to give sleep sufficient priority through choice or ignorance,” Dr Hillman said. “Apart from its impact on well-being, this problem comes at a huge economic cost through its destructive effects on health, safety and productivity."

The study found complaints of inadequate sleep were common across several Western nations, including between 33 and 45 per cent of Australian adults."

Sleep Forum 2018

National GP Educational Forums

Following the success of The Sleep Forum in Sydney in 2017, Dr Desai conducted two further Sleep Forums in 2018, in Melbourne and Brisbane. Both were very successful with over 100 GP's in attendance. Supported by Aspen Pharmaceuticals, all the academic content and the agenda were at the speakers discretion. Associate Professor Jeremy Goldin from Melbourne (Clinical Associate Professor, Respiratory and Sleep Disorders Physician, Royal Melbourne Hospital), Dr Maria Ftanou (Lead, Clinical Psychologist Peter McCallum Cancer Centre, Melbourne), and Dr Andreas Pattichis (Sleep and Neurology Fellow, Royal Melbourne and Alfred Hospitals, Melbourne) were the other speakers.

The forums focused on the Assessment of Sleep Disorders in general, with the afternoon sessions particularly covering non-drug and drug managment of insomnia. Feedback was extremely positive and the event easily satisfied an educational gap for practising GP's.