For the past years, we have had much focus on physical health with activities like running, yoga, bicycling and movement in the workspace. Now also the mental side of health comes in focus. Particular here in Denmark mental health is under pressure and according to the statistics of Denmark incidents of mental challenges are on the rise. In the UK a whole new summit and network called Mad World Summit have arisen, and they also look into the consequences of mental health for business. Mental health will be the next focus for the human resources (HR) departments. We have seen a development in HR where we have focused on movement and getting exercise equipment in the workplaces to now also focus on mental wellbeing with meditation rooms and coaching.
Under the headline of mental health is also sleep. Sleep is the next wellbeing economy which stretches far into the lifestyle industries. From food, hospitality, tech, fashion and design we see examples and focus on sleep and the enhancement of sleep. It comes at the same time researches are getting much more answers and insights into why we sleep. Eg. sleep scientist Matthew Walker (https://www.youtube.com) Scientists have been working from the hypothesis that sleep must be absolutely vital for human survival and wellbeing because sleep is a situation where we are the most vulnerable. During the sleeping time we cannot defend ourselves nor our offspring, so that we every day “risk” our survival, must mean that sleep is equally important for our survival if we look at it from a species point of view. One of the new findings of sleep is that during sleep the brain executes essential “cleanse” and “processing” from the awake time. Meaning that being awake causes aggregation of “chemicals” that needs to be “flushed” out and memories needs to be processed and archived so that the brain doesn’t’ use unnecessary energy on keeping them present, but get them placed, so it knows where it can find them again when needed.
With all of this new knowledge coming through the focus has turned to how we can help and/or improve these processes for even better benefits and maybe higher performance. From eg. an employer’s point of view or a business/product point of view. This has for examples created a whole new food category: night snacks, which are snacks (because we all snack in the evening right?) that are made to not disturb your sleep with eg. lower levels of sugar. In fashion, we have also seen and complete 1:1 focus on sleep with PJ as an everyday fashion trend. Also, the category of lounge/sleepwear has arisen according to Edited.com (https://edited.com). In tech, we also see many devices helping us improve our sleep. Form apps that monitor our sleep performance or meditation apps like Calm that helps with mental detox. Celliant is al a textile developed to use for pillows and its construction increases the level of blood circulating helping to improve the brain’s and body’s process during sleep.
This year’s Mental health month in May, organised by Mental Health America organization, is addressed to #4Mind4Body which focuses on such topics as spirituality, work-life balance, humor, animal companionship (including home pets and animal support), recreation and social connections which would boost a better mental health and general wellness for everyone. (http://www.mentalhealthamerica.net/may)