One in three Kiwis sleep deprived – study

Sleep deprivation affects women more than men, according to the study (iStock)
Sleep deprivation affects women more than men, according to the study (iStock)

New research has revealed that more than a third of New Zealanders aren't getting their forty winks.

The study, released by Sovereign, shows that 35 percent of Kiwis either do not get enough sleep or experience a poor standard of sleep on a nightly basis.

It also showed that 35 to 49-year-olds suffer most from sleep deprivation, with 42 percent struggling to get a quality snooze in every night.

The condition is something that affects women more than men, according to the research; 38 percent of females regularly have a bad sleep compared to 32 percent of males.

Sovereign chief medical officer Dr John Mayhew says sleep is of massive benefit and shouldn't be underestimated.

"Sleep is critical to our health and overall wellbeing, impacting key areas of life, such as maintaining a healthy weight and a resilient immune function," Dr Mayhew said

The study also revealed that nearly half of Kiwis are displeased with their physical fitness and feel discontented with their weight, something Sleep Well Clinic director Dr Alex Bartle says can be exacerbated further when you can't doze off easily at night.

"The reality is poor sleep patterns can have a negative flow on effect -- if you're tired you're less likely to prioritise exercise and healthy eating," he said.

"If you sleep well you'll feel both mentally and physically energised and alert and more likely to make better decisions about your health, including fitness and diet."

However Dr Bartle admits there are a number of factors that may contribute to poor quality shuteye.

"It might be that, in the short-term, you simply have a lot on. Stress is a well-recognised factor linked to a disrupted night's sleep," he explained.

"It's also important to understand how your daily lifestyle may be impacting your melatonin levels and sleep.

"Melatonin is produced by your brain and signals to your body that it's time to sleep. Exposure to bright light can suppress melatonin, while darkness promotes it."

Dr Bartle says small adjustments to one's lifestyle, like limiting alcohol consumption, exercising early in the day and reducing the time spent 'snoozing' the alarm,  can greatly enhance sleep quality.