Date / Time

9:00 am 15/08/2019 -

5:00 pm 16/08/2019


Seminar 201, Level 2 - Cycad Building #1018, Long Pocket. The University of Queensland


UQ Long Pocket Campus, Meiers Road, Indooroopilly QLD, Australia

UQ Long Pocket Campus, Meiers Road, Indooroopilly QLD, Australia


Sleep is a social issue. Across the life course sleep is foundational for behavioural regulation, social wellbeing, and learning. Culture, social circumstance, work patterns, school, childcare and age care patterns all present significant factors affecting the duration, pattern and regularity of sleep. Sleep is arguably a meta-index of social functioning.

Objectives: This workshop brings together a diverse field of established and emerging research leaders, policy makers and industry stakeholders, to address sleep security as a social science priority. The attendees have strong competencies in sleep science and social policy, and have each led developments in new ways to bring their science to the community and to the policy landscape. The aim is to establish a research agenda to directly inform policy and practices that address current and emerging potential to understand sleep as a social index.

The specific objectives of this workshop are to: 

Establish sleep as a meta-index of social functioning and focus of social science study.

Share new measurement tools, approaches, and solutions to social disparities and disadvantage.

Explore avenues for sharing of evidence for science, practice, and community benefit.

Develop a policy statement for sleep and sleep security as a social science priority.

Sleep as a social science priority

  • Humans spend approximately 25 years of their lives asleep across the lifespan. Sleep is a foundation for a happy, stable, healthy and inclusive social life, and one factor that integrates a broad range of family, community, and cultural influences. The links between sleep and social experience encompass a wide range of overlapping sociodemographic and psychosocial dynamics, including social relationships, race, ethnicity and culture, employment, education, workplace environment, and neighbourhood context. Many of these relationships are reciprocal or interactive.
  • Sleep acts as both a barometer for, and influencer of, continuity and chaos in our social lives. Shifting or variable sleep times due to a disrupted family environments, work demands or environmental exposures (e.g. light and noise), can induce ‘social jetlag’ and other forms of social discontinuity, disruption, and disengagement. Disruption to sleep in turn has very significant and direct impacts on social functioning, health, and productivity.
  • Sleep strongly predicts a very broad range of life-long developmental outcomes (especially new learning and mental health), work-related outcomes (including stress, absenteeism, safety & performance), and social outcomes (including loneliness and isolation, social support and engagement, family and interpersonal relationships) right across the lifespan. Access and opportunity for adequate sleep is therefore vital. Sleep security exists when individuals have unimpeded access to sufficient sleep to maintain a satisfying, healthy, and active life. Sleep is a basic need and right, and sleep security a significant index of societal functioning.