Sleep and the question of whether, as a society, we are getting enough is becoming increasingly topical. In fact, even during our project this year we have seen a whole range of articles, programmes, books and discussions on the issue. Radio 4’s Start the Week looked at sleep and society this week by talking to our very own Dr Sasha Handley from the University of Manchester alongside Professor Matthew Walker from The Center for Human Sleep Science at the University of California, Susan Foister from the National Gallery in London and Matthew Taylor from the Royal Society for the Encouragement of Arts, Manufacture and Commerce.
Their discussion picks up on many of the concerns being raised today about how we live our lives and our attitudes to a healthy work/life balance. Looking back at how people in other periods considered sleep, dreams and working conditions, the panel consider whether we are at another liminal point in our understanding of sleep, healthcare and balance. This is all the more important as technology and work patterns effect our everyday lives in new and unchartered ways. As a project How We Used to Sleep has aimed to address similar questions, looking back to early modern approaches to sleep and holistic healthcare practices to see if we can find any analogies with our modern waking and sleeping behaviour or pick up tips on how to make changes for the better. Are we coming full circle in rediscovering previous approaches? Are we now starting to review how we, as a society, live our lives and questioning what is truly good for us the way previous people in the early modern period or the industrial revolution have done before us?
Click on the link here to listen to the show: http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/b095psnz