Sleep Equity: A Global Call to Action for Healthier Lives

This year, World Sleep Day raises a powerful banner: “Sleep Equity for Global Health.”

This phrase carries a profound message. It is not just about everyone getting the same amount of sleep, but about ensuring everyone has an equal opportunity to achieve the healthy sleep they need.

Sleep disparities exist around the world. Many factors like work schedules, access to healthcare, and even the environment people live in, create barriers to quality sleep. Imagine a world where someone struggles to fall asleep because they work long, unpredictable hours. Or another who can’t afford a comfortable bed or lives in a noisy neighbourhood. Or a place with high exposure to artificial light at night. These are just some examples of how sleep equity gets disrupted.

Why does sleep equity matter for global health? Because sleep is just as crucial as good nutrition and exercise for our wellbeing. It impacts our physical and mental health. When we sleep well, we learn and remember better, fight off illness more effectively, and manage stress with greater ease. We are also more likely to engage in prosocial behaviours such as helping one another.

Chronic inadequate sleep, on the other hand, increases the risk for many physical illnesses including type 2 diabetes, cardiovascular disease, cancer, dementia, as well we mental conditions including depression, anxiety, and suicidal ideation. Unfortunately, research shows sleep health is not equally distributed across populations.

Dr Kat Lederle

Dr Kat Lederle

Healthy Sleep Clinic

Dr Kat works closely with The London General Practice, click the link for more information.

The slogan “Sleep Equity for Global Health” is a call to action. It urges us to recognise the unequal distribution of sleep health and its impact on global wellbeing. It challenges us to address the barriers that prevent people from getting enough quality sleep.

This can be achieved through numerous approaches. Imagine workplaces fostering sleep-friendly policies, affordable healthcare solutions to diagnose and treat sleep disorders including insomnia, and education campaigns that raise awareness about the importance of healthy sleep.

World Sleep Day 2024 reminds us that sleep is not a luxury, but a fundamental human need. By advocating for sleep equity, we can create a world where everyone has the opportunity to wake up feeling refreshed, energised, and ready to reach their full potential.

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