Tired Australians risk accidents, mood disorders

Tired Australians risk accidents, mood disorders

Tired Australians risk accidents, mood disorders

Updated 31 December 2012, 19:28 AEST

A national survey has found about 20 per cent of Australians have fatigue and exhaustion due to lack of sleep.

A national survey has found about 20 per cent of Australians have fatigue and exhaustion due to lack of sleep.

The Sleep Health Foundation's study of the sleeping habits of 1500 adults showed that one in five of respondents said poor sleep affected their mood and ability to perform daily activities.

The Foundation's chairman Professor David Hillman says sleepiness can significantly increase the risk of an accident on the road or in the workplace.

"A lot of the population work under the misapprehension that they can get by with less sleep than they actually need," he said.

"They can train themselves to do with less, but that's just simply not true.

"The average adult needs seven-and-a-half to eight hours sleep a night and if they don't get it, they feel it."

Professor Hillman says those who do not get enough sleep are more likely to have mood disorders.

"Rather than flourishing and enjoying life you're just simply existing from day to day and that's just not a satisfactory way to be," he said.

"Sleep's in this rather grim competition with the other things we want to do - social life, family life and work life - and for a lot of people it comes off a rather poor fourth in that competition."