We sleep every day without even thinking about it. But do we sleep well? According to the World Economic Forum, 62% of adults in the world are not happy with their sleep – and this has a big impact on people’s health. ReMark Japan led a sandbox project in Nagaoka City to improve sleep by managing health activities. 17th March is World Sleep Day and we dive into the lessons we learnt from this project.
Linking physical activity with better sleep
From mid-November 2022 to 31 January 2023, ReMark Japan carried out 'Improving Sleep Quality with Daily Steps,' a sandbox project selected by the City of Nagaoka. The programme looked at whether it is possible to improve sleep quality and duration by changing a person’s behaviour. Using ReMark’s health & wellness app, Good Life, participants were invited to track their daily steps. Sleep quality was measured by our partner NTT Paravita. The results of this innovative new programme will be announced in April, following in-depth analysis of the data generated.
Thanks to our sandbox project, we hope to prove that physical activity can improve sleep quality and duration. We believe this will lead to the prevention of risks such as illness and disease.
Why sleep is essential for health?
The World Health Organisation’s full definition of health is: “a state of complete physical, mental and social well-being and not merely the absence of disease or infirmity”. In an upcoming whitepaper, we break down this holistic vision of health into five pillars of health & wellness: physical activity, nutrition, sleep, mental health and social health.
Looking at sleep, sleep disorders are said to increase the risk of developing lifestyle-related diseases, which can affect both mental and physical health. Improving the quality of sleep plays an important role in holistic health.
Do Japanese people sleep the least?
We looked at the results of a 2021 survey conducted by OECD (Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development), an international organisation of 38 developed countries, on how people use their time . It revealed that the average sleeping time of Japanese people was 7 hours 22 minutes, which was the shortest of any country measured. The global average sleep time was 8 h 24 min, highlighting that, compared to the average, Japan is a full hour shorter.
Japan: a long life expectancy, but low-risk awareness?
ReMark's annual Global Consumer Study has now revealed a low level of health awareness among Japanese consumers. Although Japan ranks in the top three for both men and women in the global life expectancy ranking , only 30% of Japanese consumers answered that healthy living is important in their life. Is it possible that the Japanese are less aware of health risks than in other regions of the world because health may simply be more ‘embedded’ in the Japanese way of life? Moreover, the country has resilient health infrastructure and adequate provision of health insurance. However, in view of the rising incidence of lifestyle-related diseases due to changes of lifestyle and dietary habits, it never hurts to highlight the risks factors affecting health.
Since 2021, ReMark has carried out several initiatives aimed at tackling health issues in Japan. For instance, in Nagaoka, elderly participants used Good Life to encourage social connection with their family and to give health news to their relatives proactively.
In the future, we aim to study sleep disorders such as sleep apnoea, a major issue for younger generations. These initiatives are helpful in developing our solutions and services and improving people’s overall health & wellness.