Sleep and help seeking behaviours in Australia: A narrative review

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Inadequate sleep is a largely under recognised problem in Australia despite researchers consistently highlighting it as a key component of health and wellbeing. Over a third of Australian adults now experience some form of inadequate sleep, which is consistently linked to a range of accompanying physical and mental health concerns. In addition to the health burden on the individual, the associated financial burden incurred by the community is extremely high with inadequate sleep costing over $66.3 billion annually in Australia alone with $26.2 billion due to financial costs and $40.1 billion accounted for in reduced wellbeing. Given the prevalence and cost of inadequate sleep, it would appear that Australians require greater support with addressing sleep problems. This requires a better understanding of how and why Australians seek assistance for sleep problems. In particular, it is imperative to understand what drives help seeking behaviours as they are the precursor to receiving support and assistance for sleep concerns. This review examined sleep and associated help seeking behaviours with a view to better understanding the contributing factors in help seeking models. The literature suggests that inadequate sleep needs to be addressed as an urgent public health matter; however help seeking for sleep problems is poorly understood in Australia. As a community, we need to prioritise working with communities and government to identify and implement strategies to improve the state of sleep health for Australians. Theories which will aid in this progression towards improved health and wellbeing include the Behavioural Model of Health Service use and the Health Belief Model.
Original languageEnglish
Number of pages17
JournalOBM Neurobiology
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 27 Jun 2019


  • Australia
  • Help seeking
  • Inadequate sleep
  • Sleep disorders
  • Sleep health


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