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Episodio #19: Il "Social Jetlag" Australiano

Woman Resting on Desk Source: MOODBOARD

Secondo una ricerca, circa un terzo della popolazione australiana soffre del cosiddetto social jet lag, cioè di un ritmo sonno-veglia sfalsato rispetto all'orologio biologico.

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Italian

Come già appurato da tempo, gli australiani soffrono di una serie di disturbi del sonno. E in generale la qualità del loro riposo è piuttosto scadente.

Ma a queste informazioni - già di dominio pubblico - se n'è aggiunta un'altra, altrettanto poco rassicurante. Secondo una ricerca, infatti, circa un terzo della popolazione soffre del cosiddetto social jet lag, cioè di un ritmo sonno-veglia sfalsato rispetto all'orologio biologico.

Uno squilibrio che può dipendere da vari fattori: la scuola, il lavoro, gli impegni quotidiani. La dottoressa Amy Reynolds è titolare della cattedra di psicologia e salute pubblica alla C-Q University e ha curato e redatto uno studio proprio sulle abitudini del sonno degli australiani.

Una ricerca pubblicata dalla rivista internazionale "Sleep Medicine", nella quale la Reynolds sostiene che il problema non si risolve dormendo più a lungo nei fine settimana.

"What we assume is that people are more likely to sleep as long as they need to when they don’t have weekly pressures, as opposed to when they have to get up and be doing things during the week. Social jet lag gives us a bit of an idea of how much people are sleeping as to what their bodies need at the time of day that they need, and if it’s out, then it suggests that they’re pushing their bodies to meet social time instead of letting their body’s normal rhythms do what they need to do."

Dallo studio - condotto su 837 persone, le cui abitudini sono state analizzate - è emerso che il 31% degli intervistati ha un ritmo sonno-veglia fuori sincro - per così dire - rispetto all'orologio biologico.

In pratica - escludendo le persone che svolgono lavori notturni   - un terzo degli australiani va a dormire in media un'ora dopo rispetto a quando richiederebbe il loro organismo.

Risultati simili sono stati ottenuti da una ricerca svolta in Olanda. Sotto accusa, tanto per cambiare, è la tecnologia. E il bello, o il brutto, è che la maggior parte delle persone è pienamente consapevole dell'impatto negativo che questa ha sulle loro vite.

"Don’t have technology in the bedroom and I think that's an important thing that we make sure we don't do, and I could probably say that there's probably lots of people out there that do and I would say that that would impact on it."

(female 2)   "People are busy with their work, so they neglect their sleep. These days Facebook and all these types of things are interrupting people's sleep."

Le persone che soffrono di questo fuso orario sociale tendenzialmente vanno a letto tardi, si svegliano tardi, si presentano in ritardo al lavoro e quando si presentano sul luogo di lavoro sono spesso cagionevoli di salute.

Una catena di problemi che secondo il professor Peter Eastwood, presidente dell'Australasian Sleep Association, è così diffuso da avere effetti sull'intera società.

Al punto che anche i parlamentari federali stanno prendendo coscienza del problema.

"And they now understand that sleep is a huge problem for Australian society. Both in terms of its health consequences, and in terms of its economic consequences. In fact, the health minister, Minister [Greg] Hunt released a report in November last year which showed that the cost of inadequate sleep in Australia over one year was $56 billion."

Secondo molti le ragioni alla base del problema sono molto profonde. Per questa donna - ad esempio - una delle cause è che agli australiani si insegna a rispettare il lavoro più di ogni altra cosa. Compresa la propria salute.

"We talk work-life balance and we know that’s just a furphy. We talk 'yes, work-life balance' and then if you actually do take time off for your family or to look after your mental health then people just think you’re weak. We don’t look after each other."

English

We know that Australians aren't getting enough good quality sleep, but new research has revealed when Aussies get to bed and wake up is also a problem.

Nearly a third of people's regular sleep patterns are believed to be out of sync with their natural body clocks, a condition called "social jet lag".

Pressures such as work, school or daily routines can cause this misalignment.

Doctor Amy Reynolds is a lecturer in psychology and public health at C-Q University Australia, and a co-author on a study of the condition published in the international journal "Sleep Medicine".

She says a weekend sleep-in isn't a solution.

What we assume is that people are more likely to sleep as long as they need to when they don’t have weekly pressures, as opposed to when they have to get up and be doing things during the week. Social jet lag gives us a bit of an idea of how much people are sleeping as to what their bodies need at the time of day that they need, and if it’s out, then it suggests that they’re pushing their bodies to meet social time instead of letting their body’s normal rhythms do what they need too."

Of the 837 people surveyed, not including night workers, evening or rotating shift workers, for 31 per cent the length of time they sleep is more than an hour out of sync with their body clock on weekends compared with work nights.

The results are similar to those of a large-scale Dutch study, with full-time workers bearing the brunt.

One of the biggest culprits is technology.

These people say they realise the disruptive impact technology has had on their lives.

"Don’t have technology in the bedroom and I think that's an important thing that we make sure we don't do, and I could probably say that there's probably lots of people out there that do and I would say that that would impact on it."

"People are busy with their work, so they neglect their sleep. These days Facebook and all these types of things are interrupting people's sleep."

The president of the Australasian Sleep Association, Professor Peter Eastwood, agrees that tech gadgets are playing havoc with people's sleep.

Socially jet lagged people are more likely to go to bed late, wake up tired, be late for work and go to work when sick.

It's a problem that The president of the Australasian Sleep Association, Professor Peter Eastwood, says is having a massive effect on society - so much so that even federal parliamentarians are taking notice.

“And they now understand that sleep is a huge problem for Australian society. Both in terms of its health consequences, and in terms of its economic consequences. In fact, the health minister, Minister [Greg] Hunt released a report in November last year which showed that the cost of inadequate sleep in Australia over one year was $56 billion."

But some people believe the root causes lie deep.

This woman says people are taught to prioritise work above everything else - even your own health.

“We talk work-life balance and we know that’s just a furphy. We talk 'yes, work-life balance' and then if you actually do take time off for your family or to look after your mental health then people just think you’re weak. We don’t look after each other."

Report by Andrea Nierhoff.      

Per altre storie ed interviste in italiano, seguici su Facebook.

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