Skip to main content

If sleep is so important to health …Why are we doing so little as a society to get it right?

If sleep is so important to health …Why are we doing so little as a society to get it right?

In today's fast-paced world, the importance of sleep is often overlooked. While we push ourselves to achieve more, we often underestimate the impact of lack of sleep on our mental and physical health. Many of our societal norms and structures seem to ignore the essential role of sleep in maintaining overall well-being. This blog post will delve into some of these prevalent issues, shedding light on the areas where more attention and action are needed.

Shift Work and its Impact on Health

There is a significant portion of our workforce involved in shift work. Despite numerous studies showing that shift work can be detrimental to mental and physical health, there's a glaring lack of corporate obligation to protect workers. The question arises, why aren't there additional health support or education provided to mitigate the adverse effects of shift work? The need for increased awareness and implementing protective measures is paramount to maintain the health of our shift workers.

The Shortcomings of Insurance Companies

Insurance companies also play a critical role in the management of sleep health. However, they often fall short of providing adequate coverage for sleep therapies and aids. Instead, they are more likely to cover medication, which might not be the best solution for everyone. A glaring example is the preferential coverage for a baby massage over much-needed sleep therapies. The need for a more comprehensive and balanced approach from insurance companies is evident.

Outdated Resources on Sleep Health

Our ability to access accurate and up-to-date information is crucial to managing our sleep health. However, resources such as the HSE website for sleep are severely outdated. It still lists sleep medications that are addictive and lose their impact after short-term use, and fails to provide the best practices for sleep solutions. The urgency to upgrade these resources with the latest, evidence-based information is palpable.

The Need for Children's Sleep Education

Healthy sleep habits are best established during childhood. However, sleep education for children is distressingly scarce in schools and families. Ensuring an early understanding of the importance of sleep can pave the way for healthier habits in adulthood. Thus, it is vital to integrate sleep education into school curriculums and encourage conversations about it within families.

Addressing Sleep Health in Primary Care

General Practitioners (GPs) are often the first point of contact for patients experiencing sleep issues. However, GPs often lack deep training in sleep issues and do not have a broad selection of treatment pathways to assist people. Addressing this gap in healthcare education could lead to earlier detection and better management of sleep disorders. we need to support GP's more in other ways as they are already severly overworked. 

In conclusion, while our society has made tremendous strides in many aspects of healthcare, the importance of sleep health often falls by the wayside. A comprehensive approach involving corporate responsibility, insurance policy changes, updated resources, education, and improved healthcare practices is needed to address this overlooked aspect of our health. Remember, good sleep is not a luxury; it's a necessity.