Getting More Sleep among Aims of Govt Health Plan

Yomiuri Shimbun file photo
The Health, Labor and Welfare Ministry

Here’s a government policy many won’t be losing sleep over.

The Health, Labor and Welfare Ministry will set a goal for 60% of the people in Japan to get sufficient sleep, defined as between six to eight or nine hours depending on age, by fiscal 2032.

This target will be included in the ministry’s next national health promotion plan, Health Japan 21, which will begin in the fiscal year starting April 2024.

Health Japan 21 aims to promote the prolonging of years of healthy life through numerical targets for prevention of lifestyle-related diseases, diet and exercise. The upcoming plan, which is the third version of the ministry’s health promotion measures since 2000, is expected to set about 50 goals and likely to be decided in June.

Behind the sleep goal are the results of recent studies in which lack of sleep has connections to mental and physical disorders.

The average amount of sleep in Japan is shorter than it is overseas. Men in Japan average 7 hours 52 minutes and women in the nation average 7 hours 33 minutes. The ministry aims to increase the percentage of people who get enough sleep time by 5 percentage points from the current level.

In terms of dietary improvement, the ministry wants to reduce the excessive intake of salt in Japan. The goal is to reduce the amount of daily salt intake from the current 10.1 grams to less than 7 grams per person.

The vegetable consumption target will be raised by 70 grams to 350 grams per day, while fruit consumption should be double the current level to 200 grams daily. It is believed that increasing vegetable and fruit intake will reduce the mortality rate from cardiovascular diseases.

Another target is to reduce by 10% the number of people 65 and over who suffer leg and/or back pain, factors in locomotive syndrome.

“We want the people to refer to each numerical goal to improve their lifestyles and live well in old age,” a ministry official said.