“Sleep is the unsung hero for our mental health”
BY DANIELLE MUSTARDE
How well do you sleep? And how does your sleep affect you day-to-day? Conversations like these are, thankfully, set to come to the fore in 2020 as the theme for Mental Health Awareness Week 2020 is announced as Sleep.
Taking sleep as a jumping off point, Mental Health Awareness Week will focus on the connections between our sleep (or lack thereof) and our mental health – though traditionally the week is also an opportunity for people to talk about all aspects of mental health, with a focus on taking action and providing advice.
As an organisation, The Mental Health Foundation has set the theme, organised and hosted the week for the last 20 years, during which time the event has grown to engage millions of people across the UK and globally.
Why sleep? Why now? 💤
Sleep was chosen as the theme of Mental Health Awareness Week 2020 because millions of people report problems with their sleeping and evidence clearly shows it can have a major impact on our mental health. In response to this, the week will focus on providing information and advice and campaigning for change to improve wellbeing and recovery.
“Sleep is the unsung hero for our mental health,” said Mark Rowland, chief executive of the Foundation.
“By understanding what affects our sleep, we can help protect the mental health of millions of people and also support recovery.
“We want to start a national conversation about how we can all sleep better – and uncover the hidden mental health costs of the poor sleep that affects so many of us.
“We will investigate the changes we need to make, as individuals, communities and as a society, to get the rest and renewal we all need. We’ll also set out what our schools, universities, employers and policymakers can do to achieve that aim.”
Brand new research 💤
During Mental Health Awareness Week, the Foundation will also publish brand new data about sleep in the UK – as well as looking at the latest research on sleep and mental health, the complex relationship between them and the societal factors that influence this relationship.
It will also offer advice on how people can help themselves and those around them to sleep better. In addition, the Foundation will call for reforms to support sleep and its crucial contribution to everyone’s mental health. For example, there is evidence that digital technologies such as phones and computers – as well as night-time shift working – are part of the UK’s sleep problem.
However, there are many other influences on sleep, including caring for young children and other dependents, stress, anxiety, noise and light pollution, obesity and experience of trauma.
Keep an eye out on social media for more or visit the MHF website here. Mental Health Awareness Week takes place from the 18-24 May 2020. #MentalHealthAwareness
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