Research shows poor sleep caused by the pandemic still impacting young Australians

The pandemic has left scars in its wake. More and more young people are having trouble sleeping because of the lockdowns caused by COVID-19. Research published in the  Australian and New Zealand Journal of Public Health on 18 July 2023, tells us about the sleep habits of young Australians and how it connects to their physical and mental well-being. 

Around 60 percent of young Australians said they don’t have a regular sleep schedule. The research involved 1,234 young adults, and it’s the first of its kind in Australia to really look into how young adults sleep and its impact on their health.

The young and the sleepless

Insomnia has been a growing issue among the youth. Even back in 2019, various studies such as this one conducted by Australian Institute of Family Studies illustrated its effect on higher rates of anxiety and depression.

Sleep disorders can develop through stress, a life event, or a mental condition. The lockdowns became a major struggle in the lives of many young people. As their habits and routines were disrupted, several developed unhealthy sleeping patterns. 

However, even long after the pandemic, some are still suffering through difficulties. The research found that many young people don’t get enough good sleep. Around 30 percent of young adults sleep less than seven to nine hours each night, and 18 percent take more than 30 minutes to fall asleep. Also, 60 percent don’t have a regular sleep schedule.

The researchers also learned that a lot of young people are not happy with their sleep. About 25 percent said their sleep is “quite bad” or “very bad”. Additionally, 10 percent mentioned having trouble staying alert during the daytime.

Further research from Flinders University revealed that 22-year-olds with a clinical sleep disorder experience workplace productivity losses up to 40 percent more than those who don’t have any sleep disorders. 

It’s not unexpected when you consider whose lives have been severely affected by the pandemic and subsequent economic challenges. Their schedules were as upended as those of their parents who were pivoting to adjust to new circumstances.  Without the same number of years of ‘normal’ behind them as their parents, a significant cohort of young people appears to now be facing the brunt of these changes, with increased living costs, rising rent prices, and difficulties in their lives complicating their family lives. 

Sadly, they are often less inclined to act on it and seek medical help, partly because they don’t have a good grasp on what is happening to them.

Seeking help

Understanding that your health needs and the health needs of younger family members gives you the power to make the right choices to overcome illnesses. If you or a younger family member is experiencing symptoms of insomnia we strongly encourage you to consult a healthcare professional. Proper diagnosis can give you access to the right medications, and a host of useful strategies. 

At Heathershaw’s Compounding Pharmacy, we are accustomed to issues relating to the quality of sleep. Our expert pharmacists – Jenny, Gavin, Michelle, Maria, Amy or Jill – are available for a chat if you would like to know more about sleep health and ways to manage it better.   We want all young people to know that they are not alone in this, and seeking help is the first step towards a more focused and energised life.

Opinions or facts expressed within the content have been sourced from various news sources. While every effort has been taken to source them accurately, the pharmacy, its owners, staff or other affiliates do not take any responsibility for errors in these sources. Patients should not rely on the facts or opinions in the content to manage their own health, and should seek the advice of an appropriate medical professional. Further, the opinions or facts in the content do not reflect the opinions and beliefs of the pharmacy, its owners, staff or other affiliates. 

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