Published on 20th April 2020


We chat to Zoe Salmon, TV presenter, about her involvement with The Sleep Manifesto and why she believes the culture surrounding sleep needs to change 

What is the ‘Wake Up Call’ sleep manifesto?

“The manifesto sets out to wake up the whole nation and realise how crucial and vital sleep is; how we all need to embrace it and start to think more about those eight hours of premium sleep in the same way the government came up with 5-a-day and two litres of water.

“We want this to be part of the government’s Change4Life scheme – and more. We go to school and we learn maths and English, but I would really love to see four and five-year-olds learning about sleep and nutrition because it needs to be instilled in childhood. We all want to live a healthy and happy life, but how can we do that if we don’t even have the fundamentals and basics? Let’s respect our bodies and know that it’s not just about the healthy food and the workouts at the gym – there’s a missing piece there that we really need to explore.”

How did you get involved with the Sleep Manifesto?

“I’ve always had a real passion for diet and nutrition, as well as trying to work out and be healthy in the gym. I did this professional diploma in nutritional therapy in my spare time and had a personal trainer at the gym, but it was obvious that there was something missing – [although these are critically important] it had to be something more than just diet and exercise.

“There are never enough hours in the day, so something always has to give. For me, it was sleep. The more I tried harder and harder with my diet and the exercise, the more I just wasn’t getting anywhere. Sleep is the catalyst; you need sleep to fuel everything in your body and function. It was the missing piece of the puzzle.

“This all happened around the time I started to be aware of people to follow on social media. I had come across The Sleep Council and The Sleep Charity on Twitter and found that a lot of the things they were talking about I could really connect to. It made me want to learn more about sleep. I would comment and retweet and that is how they noticed me.”

Why is the manifesto important to you?

“I find it funny because we never say, ‘I did a full hour’s workout and I had eight hours sleep’– no one ever wants to show off about their sleep. Why are we shy? Why are we proud to show off our gym stats or what healthy meal we’re having, but we would never be loud and proud about our sleep? It’s like the ‘anti-sleep’ is the thing to be proud about, when we need to be proud of the actual sleep quality.

“I do think the whole culture needs to change and the concept behind the manifesto is the wakeup call for all of us. I hope this becomes part of the mainstream health dialogue.”

How do you get a good night’s sleep?

“I always have this lavender oil which I smell to calm me. I have another one that you can spray. There’s a range of candles that do a sleep well range called Neom. I just burn the candle for a while, dim the lights and get into the frame of relaxing. I always sleep with ear plugs too and the room has to be dark – I’m really particular about that. Again, people think you’re being fussy but you have to do these things properly. You have to get everything in place in the same way you would if you were going to the gym – you’d warm up and cool down.

“That’s why we need to get sleep into our health dialogue. It’s taking a healthy attitude to sleep.”