A recent report from the Woolcock Institute of Medical Research has confirmed what most people are already painfully aware of;  not getting enough sleep.

From the report:

Almost a fifth of NSW’s adult population doesn’t get enough sleep according to research to be published this month in international publication Internal Medicine Journal. 

With 11.7% experiencing excessive daytime sleepiness and 18.4% reporting sleeping less than 6.5 hours per night. the study warns the impact of sleep and sleepiness on the public health could be

Results  found  excessive  daytime  sleepiness  was  most  commonly  associated  with  short  sleep durations, getting older and symptoms of insomnia and depression. 

Dr Delwyn Bartlett, Sleep Psychologist at the Woolcock Institute of Medical Research and chief author  of  the  paper,  explains  short  sleep,  either  self-imposed  or  forced,  is  being  increasingly recognised as a contributor to impaired health and increased death in the community.   “It  can  impact  on  everything  from  cardiovascular  disease,  type-2  diabetes,  insulin  sensitivity, appetite, immune responses to vaccinations and concentration levels for even the simplest tasks,” she said.

“If the NSW figures are reflective of the nation as a whole, chronic sleep restriction is likely to
have a major impact on Australian public health.”  Dr Bartlett says.

My opinion:

Society exploits people… and does so by appealing to our animal instincts.  Our consumerist culture with it’s attitude of "more, more, more!" convinces us to work longer hours to buy a bunch of stuff that we really don’t need, and usually that stuff will not bring any lasting happiness.  Alain De botton summed it up well in his book and documentary aptly titled "Status Anxiety" in which he observes the anxiety about what others think of us; about whether we’re judged a success or a failure, a winner or a loser.  He writes:

"A sharp decline in actual deprivation may – paradoxically – have been accompanied by a continuing and even increased sense of deprivation and a fear of it. Populations blessed with riches and possibilities far outstripping those imaginable by their ancestors tilling the unpredictable soil of medieval Europe have shown a remarkable capacity to feel that both who they are and what they have are not enough."

But for now, we’re sold on it, and we’ll keep consuming energy drinks and high sugar foods so we can work longer hours to get the stuff that we don’t really need.

Perhaps someday in the future people will look back on the 21st century in disbelief and horror at the exploitation people suffered.  Perhaps they will think we’re idiots… and I wouldn’t blame them.

So what we can we do about it?  Firstly, I would recommend getting out into the wilderness and looking around.  Take notice of all the things that are free… oh yeah, that would be everything.

Secondly, I would think of the times in  your life when you were genuinely happy, because the chances are that they weren’t based on money.  Some of my greatest memories involve times in my life where I was flat broke.

And last but not least, tell all the proverbial "Jones’s" to shove their have and have-not mentality up their butt.  That is, if their head isn’t taking up all the space.

We live in strange times, where slavery; rather being enforced, is chosen.  You do have a choice… yes you do.