RSPH has collaborated with qualified sleep practitioner James Wilson - The Sleep Geek, to create a free e-learning resource on sleep for the public. Understanding Sleep: don’t hit snooze on your health launches 1 April 2019, in the wake of the previous night’s disruption to the UK’s sleep patterns, as the clocks sprung forward. 

The resource, supported by Silentnight official sleep partner of RSPH, sets out to inform the public of the links between sleep and health. Rather than taking a one size fits all approach, users are informed of the effects that a range of factors can have upon sleep, so that they can tailor their own lives and activities to be more sleep-friendly. The resource is divided into four parts, covering:

  • An introduction to sleep as a public health issue.
  • Melatonin, drugs and alcohol.
  • Sleep and culture.
  • Sleep disorders.

Understanding Sleep follows RSPH’s 2016 report, Waking up to the health benefits of sleep, which revealed that over half (54%) of the UK public have felt stressed about poor sleep, more than a third (36%) have eaten unhealthy food as a result of poor sleep and almost four in 10 (37%) have fallen asleep on public transport. With poor sleep linked to an increased risk of cardiovascular disease, breast cancer, an unbalanced diet and poor mental health,  getting a good night’s sleep plays a central role in protecting the public’s health. 


James Wilson, Sleep Practitioner, AKA The Sleep Geek said: “I am proud to have worked with RSPH to develop this e-learning. We are both passionate about raising awareness that sleeping better doesn’t come from a one size fits all, prescriptive approach. Better sleep instead comes from better understanding and techniques that are relevant to you as a sleeper and your lifestyle.

We hope that this will start people on their journey of understanding their own sleep, the sleep of those around them and what they need to do to sleep better.”

Shirley Cramer CBE, Chief Executive, RSPH said: “Sleep is an essential part of our health and wellbeing and a lack of good quality sleep can have a significant and damaging impact on almost every aspect of our day-to-day lives. We know that sleep deprivation affects the public across all ages and walks of life, yet the importance of sleep continues to be underestimated as a public health issue. 

We are delighted to launch this free to access e-learning, which debunks many of the prevailing sleep myths which exist, whilst vitally improving the public’s understanding of sleep and its intrinsic role in maintaining optimal health and wellbeing.”

Jason Mcilvenny, Brand Marketing Manager at Silentnight, Official Sleep Partner of RSPH said: “We’re delighted to continue our partnership with RSPH to educate people on the importance of sleep and the impact this has on our lifestyle choices. Our research with the University of Leeds has revealed that 25 per cent of Brits are getting less than five hours sleep a night, and there are a number of factors that could be contributing to this. 

Lack of sleep can have serious health implications and can result in poor performance during the day, even affecting our memory and ability to store and learn new information. Silentnight are truly committed to helping the nation to get a better night’s sleep each and every night.”