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Making Sleep: New Insights for a New Public Health?

July 7, 2021 - July 8, 2021

The UK Government are “planning to issue guidance on how much sleep people should be getting every night” (BBC News, 2019). According to a Department of Health & Social Care (2019) Green paper, the Government will review the evidence on sleep and health with the view to informing the case for guidance on hours of sleep.  This resonates with calls from the UK Royal Society for Public Health, for a ‘slumber number’ to be published which makes it easier for individuals to know how much they should be sleeping (Royal Society for Public Health, 2018). The United States National Sleep Foundation has also recently issued age-specific sleep duration recommendations (Hirshkowitz et al., 2015).

These intentions appear misguided.  We need a radical departure from traditional thinking. The proposed workshop will bring together scholars and practitioners to debate and discuss how we might move beyond traditional confines and work towards a new national sleep strategy.

Bringing together scholars and practitioners from a range of disciplines, the workshop will:
(i) Map the complexity of sleep across different domains (such as in the clinic, through wearable technologies art, literature and public health).
(ii) Use this as an evidence base to explore new conceptual frames and revisit fundamental questions – such as what is sleep, how should we sleep, how should we measure sleep?
(iii) Explore the implications therein for a new public health for sleep


Louise Berger, Royal Surrey County Hospital

Derk-Jan Dijk, University of Surrey

Jason Ellis, Northumbria University

Christine Hine, University of Surrey

Jeff Mann, SleepJunkies

Robert Meadows, University of Surrey

Michael Grandner, University of Arizona

Diletta De Cristofaro, Northumbria University

Martyn Pickersgill, University of Edinburgh


Day 1 – Mapping the complexity of sleep across different domains [09:30 to 14:00]

Day 1 will include short talks on sleep across different domains – namely the clinic, digital technology, online spaces, public health, art and literature. Speakers will be invited to reflect on the messiness of sleep and highlight any challenges around normativity, interventions and expertise. The day will end with themed breakout rooms.

Day 2 – Responding to the complexity of sleep [14:30 to 17:30]

Day 2 begins with keynote talks introducing different conceptual frames and ways to think about the complexities of sleep. Multidisciplinary panels will then be invited to reflect on future agendas – for both our understandings of sleep and public health responses. The day will end with themed breakout rooms.


Prof Robert Meadows

Prof Christine Hine



Making Sleep: New Insights for a New Public Health?



July 7, 2021
July 8, 2021