As Peter has written in to point out

Middle-aged people will be encouraged to get more sleep as part of a government campaign to help them live more healthy lifestyles and reduce the risk of serious illness.
Public Health England is planning to encourage adults between the ages of 40 and 60 to spend more time in bed as part of a wide-ranging campaign to boost the nation’s health.

Well, yes:

“More than a third of the population sleeps for less than six hours a night which raises their risk of early death by 12 per cent according to Sleep Council.”

So if you reduce your sleep time by 25%, from 8 hours to 6 hours, you get to see 13% more of life & most of it when you’re young enough to enjoy it.

Sounds like a no-brainer, to me.

12 thoughts on “As Peter has written in to point out”

  1. It’s an organisation funded by the trade association for British bed manufacturers. I’d have thought that falls within the wide set of things we are entirely happy for private persons (natural and legal) to do with their private money but perhaps it’s too liberal for your tastes and they should be told not to.

  2. I think your maths is wrong – reducing sleeping hours from 8 to 6 increases time awake by 12.5% *for that period* which is cancelled out by the 12% increasse in early death.

  3. BiG,

    The Sleep Council saying it is one thing. Trivially ignorable. Or taken full notice of. As you please.

    Public Health England taking it up as the latest strong in their ever increasingly authoritarian prescriptions for how we must live our lives (in the extreme, to the extent of having necessary medical treatment refused because we fail to live to their demands), is a completely different matter.

  4. Yes, it’s the percentage change in waking time that’s relevant to the cost-benefit calculation, not the change in sleeping time.

    But even if it balances (John77’s calculation), it’s still generally better to have more time when you’re middle-aged than at the end of life when you’re gaga in an institution.

    The problem with the calculation is that there is no indication of the average loss of life expectancy. 12% greater risk of “early death” could be a trivial loss or a massive one, depending on whether it’s 10 weeks or 10 years earlier than average.

  5. Bloke in North Dorset

    The Freaky guys have just done a couple of programs on the economics of sleep and its an eye opener on what is being discovered in recent research. We shouldn’t be too quick to dismiss the subject of not being worthy of at least some public health research.

    Here’s a fascinating snippet from the 2nd program:

    So Gibson and Shrader looked at similar populations that lie at opposite ends of time zones — for instance, Huntsville, Alabama (on the eastern edge of the Central Time Zone), and Amarillo, Texas (on the western edge). Even though cities like this are on the same clock, the western city gets roughly an hour more of sunlight – which means that people there tend to go to bed later. But they have to wake up the same time as people in the eastern city – so, on average, they get less sleep. Gibson and Shrader could then look at the wage data in places like this to see how an extra dose of sleep affects earnings:

    GIBSON: And we find that permanently increasing sleep by an hour per week for everybody in a city, increases the wages in that location by about 4.5%.

    You don’t have to listen t them there are links to the transcripts.

    http://freakonomics.com/2015/07/06/the-economics-of-sleep-part-1-a-new-freakonomics-radio-episode/

    http://freakonomics.com/2015/07/16/the-economics-of-sleep-part-2-a-new-freakonomics-radio-episode/

  6. Since the whole point of PHE is to pretend science doesn’t exist, confronting them with a bit of arithmetic is like trying to belittle a deaf person using sarcasm.

  7. Classic comment under the article by Wittgensteinsfoot:

    Many readers don’t appear to have worked out that these articles are placed in the DT in order to generate highly predictable Mr Angry responses such as ‘Nanny state’ ‘Gay Dave and his cronies’ ‘secure our borders’ ‘bomb Calais’ and so on which trigger the sympathetic nervous system, flooding said readers’ bodies with cortisol and ensuring their early demise. Don’t fall for it chaps.

  8. bloke (not) in spain

    @BiD
    It’d be interesting to see a similar study between Spain, Portugal & the UK. The former two are almost entirely west of the Greenwich Meridian – for western Es & Pt a long way west. But the former runs an hour earlier than the others.
    For an early data point, we have much better looking women than you or the Ports. It can be hazardous going out, some days..

  9. I think your maths is wrong – reducing sleeping hours from 8 to 6 increases time awake by 12.5% *for that period* which is cancelled out by the 12% increasse in early death.

    “12% increase in early death” does not mean 12% less time alive…

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