Warm milk, reading a book and counting sheep are all said to be easy ways to send you off into a deep slumber, so why are sleepless nights becoming a common complaint for so many? Disrupted sleep and sleep deprivation is a condition that doesn’t just leave us feeling tired; it can be linked to serious health problems according to a newly published book edited by leading academics at Warwick Medical School.
Professor Francesco Cappuccio and Dr Michelle Miller will be unveiling the secrets of sound sleep from the new book, ‘Sleep, Health and Society’ at a free event, open to the public, on Friday 12 November at Warwick University. The presentation and debate will focus on how our society, with its 24/7 culture, shift working patterns and high demands on our time, is actually a ticking time bomb for our health.
Professor Cappuccio explained: “There is an expectation in today’s society to fit more into our lives. The whole work/life balance struggle is causing too many of us to trade in precious sleeping time to ensure we complete all the jobs we believe are expected of us.”
Research has shown that by swapping quality sleep time for extra hours spent working, staying up late or out partying can have a radical long term affect on our health.
He added: “We now sleep two and a half hours less a night than we did 100 years ago. Women are particularly at risk, especially when they are younger and juggling the demands of being a mother, worker and possible carer. Women, during their busier part of their life, tend to sleep less than men but in doing so are risking long term health problems such as high blood pressure, high cholesterol, heart disease and obesity.”
Shift workers and new mothers are good examples of how disruptions to your sleep pattern can have a massive effect on your ability to function. He added: “When you deprive someone of regular sleep, their responses and reactions can be similar to someone who is over the legal alcohol limit – that’s how important sleep is to our body.
“By ensuring you have about seven hours sleep a night, you are protecting your future health, and reducing the risk of developing chronic illnesses. The link is clear from our research: get the sleep you need to stay alert and be efficient and productive at work and home.”
The free event is open to the general public and Franco is keen to emphasise that’s not a medical meeting. “The discussions will be around how today’s society impacts our sleep patterns and what will be the health consequences if we don’t address our ever so common disruption of our sleep.”
The event will take place on Friday 12 November, from 12.15 to 2.30pm in the Ramphal Building, Room RO.12 on University of Warwick’s main campus. To reserve your place contact Patricia.McCabe@warwick.ac.uk .
Notes to Editors:
Professor Franco Cappuccio will be available for interview please contact him on 02476 968661 or F.P.Cappuccio@warwick.ac.uk .
For further information, contact Kate Cox in the Communications office on 02476 574255, m:07920 531221 or Kate.Cox@warwick.ac.uk