2020 is set to be the ‘Year of Sleep' as the third of a life we spend in bed takes a higher profile than ever before.
With more and more wellbeing and mental health organisations focusing on the importance of a good night's rest, even Tatler has called sleep ‘the new status symbol'. Already lined up for the year is the presentation of a Sleep Manifesto to an all-party House of Commons group on March 4. And, importantly, the Mental Health Foundation announced at the end of 2019 that the theme for Mental Health Awareness Week in May will be the connection between sleep - or lack of it - and mental health.
Said Lisa Artis, chief advisor for The Sleep Council: "There is clear and gathering momentum to have sleep pushed up the public health agenda and finally recognised as being as important to good health as diet and exercise.
"For too long we've seen sleep regarded as virtually an ‘optional extra' when it comes to good health, but a growing tide of scientific evidence is proving that it is vital to both our physical and mental wellbeing. Unlike diet and exercise, the subject of sleep is barely mentioned in schools - and while access is given to all kinds of physical and wellbeing training in the workplace, help with achieving a good night's sleep is rarely considered. Given that 200,000 working days a year are lost in the UK through sleep-related problems*, that would seem to be an incredibly short-sighted approach.
"However, it would finally appear that the tide is changing and highly significant that the Mental Health Foundation - which itself has enjoyed a hugely raised profile in the past year - is to focus on the importance of sleep to mental health as its campaign theme for May."
The Sleep Council itself, in conjunction with The Sleep Charity, is due to launch its Sleep Manifesto at Westminster on March 4 with the aim of pushing sleep up the public health agenda.
Said Lisa: "Government recognition of the need to take sleep seriously would be a major step forward in improving the health of the nation. Although the wider subject of wellbeing is now on most people's radar, a good night's sleep is not always front of mind and this is something which urgently needs addressing.
"Everyone is aware of public health messages around exercise and eating with the ‘Five a Day' mantra well established. What we want to see is the same public awareness around the need to ‘Sleep for Seven'."