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Experts call for introduction of sleep guidelines in new report

Public missing out on a night2019s worth of sleep every week

The UK public is under-sleeping by an average of almost an hour every night – which amounts to losing an entire night’s sleep over the course of a week. As a result, experts are calling for the introduction of national sleep guidance time to help inform the public about the critical importance of sleep to health and wellbeing.

The report, ‘Waking up to the health benefits of sleep’, is published by the Royal Society for Public Health and the University of Oxford, co-authored by Professor Colin Espie of the Sleep and Circadian Neuroscience Institute in the Nuffield Department of Clinical Neurosciences.

The importance of sleep for individual and societal benefit has been almost completely neglected in both policy and practice. I’m delighted to be associated with this report on the nation’s sleep, and I look forward to addressing the challenges it sets with anyone in authority who will listen. 
- Colin Espie, Professor of Sleep Medicine at the University of Oxford

RSPH polling has shown that the public feel getting enough sleep is the second most important activity for optimising their health and wellbeing, ahead of important health behaviours such as eating five fruit and vegetables a day, undertaking enough physical activity, and sticking to recommended alcohol guidelines. 

An important research focus for the Sleep and Circadian Neuroscience Institute (SCNi) at the University of Oxford is on the treatment of insomnia. Members of the public interested in participation in research can contact insomnia@ndcn.ox.ac.uk. The SCNi has also just launched a training programme in sleep medicine for health professionals.