One of the country’s biggest contradictions is the love and lust for sleep. All we want is sleep, you can ask anyone, yet we all know we don’t get enough and don’t do anything about it. The Brits struggle with balancing the days’ work with sleep is constantly being highlighted in the news. But why can’t we figure out the right balance for activity in the bedroom?
World Sleep Day this Friday, March 15th ‘is designed to raise awareness of sleep as human privilege that is often comprised by the habits of modern life’. It is an event to highlight the importance of sleep in personal health and wellbeing.
Time and time again, sleep is put to the bottom of our to-do lists or an early night is seen as something of a luxury. We are so used to thinking of diet and exercise as the epitome of our wellbeing and our ticket to that perfect ‘healthy lifestyle’ that along with those ideas comes the multi-billion-pound industry which is constantly influencing our decisions. However, many scientists have revealed that sleep plays a huge role in nearly all aspects of our wellbeing, such as lower heart risks and our athletic performance.
However, the fact of the matter is that no one is making money off us sleeping. Realistically, they are losing money. Netflix CEO, Reed Hastings, highlighted that its largest competitors aren’t Amazon, YouTube or even traditional broadcast, but in fact, sleep is their main barrier – that’s a scary thought! Mr Hastings explained, “We’re competing with sleep, on the margin. And so, it’s a very large pool of time.”
Regardless of the fact that we all get excited for that moment when our head hits the pillow at the end of the day, sleep is never thought as an exciting topic. It has never been considered as ‘cool’ to get an early night and go to bed at 10pm, even though we all wish we could. Lack of sleep and waking up at the crack of dawn is seen as ambitious and as having a go-getting attitude. Successful business men and women, politicians and entrepreneurs are not ashamed to admit that they start their days as early as only 3 hours in. For example, Apple’s CEO, Tim Cook, sets his alarm for 3:45am and it turns out Michelle Obama is an early bird too and likes to wake up 4:30am along with the CEO of Disney, Bob Iger.
However, although the sleep business might not be the most booming industry out there. It’s no surprise that technology has found a place for itself in the market. Even when it is our only time in the day to rest and relax, technology still finds its way into our lives. Continuing from the success of the fitness industry, many fitness devices now offer some form of sleep tracking. The devices don’t directly measure your sleep quality, but they do track movement. But how useful are they? Nancy Foldvary, M.D., from Cleveland Clinic explained “how you feel after a night of sleep is generally the best measure of sleep health”. So, it has opened the doors to another way for people to get obsessed with an aspect of their lives in hope of achieving the craved healthy lifestyle.
As public relations professionals and users of social media, we know there is a day for nearly everything – and if there is a day, there is an opportunity. Park Plaza Hotel & Resorts conducted research around the nations ‘sleep-loss epidemic’ and launched the ‘sleep experience’ as an ongoing commitment to ensure that every hotel guest has a great night’s sleep.
The survey also uncovered some ‘Bed Habits’ that could be contributing to the Brits insomnia. Apart from sleeping, the most common activity we do in bed is watch television (28 percent), play on devices (26 percent) and have sex (17 percent). People aged 55 and above are the most likely to get the recommended number of hours’ sleep each night and are also the least likely to play on a device before bed, suggesting that screen-time can be linked to a lack of sleep. Interestingly, people aged over 55 are also the only age group that are more likely to ‘get intimate’ than pick up their phones when they go to bed.
To conclude – yes, we may all have the same hours in the day as Beyoncé, but even she still needs her sleep.