Is today's society sleep deprived?


Tuesday 7 February 2017


Venue Royal Society of Medicine
1 Wimpole Street
Organised by

Sleep Medicine Section


5 CPD Points

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about this event

about this event

Sleep debt is a topic frequently raised in today's media, alongside the suggestion that the modern day society is chronically sleep deprived.

This meeting will focus on the controversial issue of sleep debt, and will be approached by leading experts from historical, sociological, epidemiological, clinical, scientific backgrounds and 'real world' perspectives.  It could be argued that we are too prescriptive about how we should sleep, and that sleep was and still is naturally more ‘flexible’ than often assumed.

aims and objectives

This meeting reviews understanding of “sleep debt” from historical, contemporary, clinical and scientific perspectives

Participants will:

  • Understand what is meant by “sleep debt”
  • Know about current research into the implications of sleep debt
  • Discuss the “need for sleep” and the relative importance to health of quality vs quantity of sleep


Keynote speaker

Roger Ekirch, Professor of History at Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University, Virginia is an award winning author whose writing has been translated into eight languages. His published research into the history of sleep has been widely embraced by sleep scientists, and includes the book 'At Day’s Close: Night in Times Past' which attracted four prizes including an award from the history honour society Phi Alpha Theta for the “best subsequent book” in all fields of history.


8.30 am

Registration, tea and coffee

9.00 am

Welcome and introduction

Professor Jim Horne, Emeritus Professor of Psychophysiology, University of Loughborough

9.05 am

A social history of sleep – looking back to what was ‘normal sleep’

Professor Roger Ekirch, Professor of History, Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University, Virginia, USA

10.05 am

The pharmaceuticalisation of today’s sleep - a socio-medical perspective

Dr Catherine Coveney, Research Fellow, University of Sussex

10.50 am

Tea and coffee break

11.20 am

Short sleep, mortality and morbidity – epidemiological findings

Professor Franco Cappuccio, Professor of Cardiovascular Medicine and Epidemiology, University of Warwick

12.05 pm

Panel discussion

12.25 pm


1.25 pm

Judge sleep by its quality rather than duration

Prof Derk-Jan Dijk, Professor of Sleep and Physiology, University of Surrey and Director, Surrey Sleep Research Centre

2.10 pm

Optimal sleep for everyday behaviour

Professor John Groeger, Professor, University of Hull

2.55 pm

Tea and coffee break

3.25 pm

Sleep debt – just a fact of life?

Professor Jim Horne, University of Loughborough

4.10 pm

Panel discussion and question and answer session

4.55 pm

Completion of evaluation forms

5.00 pm

Close of meeting

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  • Places are available on the day


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organiser's details

For information on this event, contact Amy BallamTel: 02072903942 Email: arrow