Public Health England warns "neglected" over-40s to get more sleep, stop smoking and reduce alcohol comsumption

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Snatching a few minutes' kip at lunchtime isn't enough - Public Health England will warn those approaching middle age to get more sleep (Source: Getty)

The UK's public health body will launch a new campaign warning those between the ages of 40 and 60 to live more healthily after it found those in middle ages are "neglected".

In a document published last month, Public Health England said because most health campaigns target the very young and the very old, the years between ages 40 and 60 are a "unique but neglected" opportunity for intervention.

The body will launch a "major" programme to "energise and engage adults in making changes to improve their own health".

The campaign will "speak holistically to adults in mid-life", it said, encouraging them to make changes in seven areas: stopping smoking, reducing alcohol consumption, taking more exercise, improving diet, reducing stress, improving sleep and checking for common signs and symptoms of disease.

"Physical and cognitive decline are not inevitable," it added "Indeed, only 20-30 per cent of what we think of as 'ageing' is biological; the rest is 'decay' or 'deterioration', which can be actively managed or prevented."

Research published by the Happy Egg Co last week showed people hit a "middle-aged health abyss", with motivation to eat well and keep fit hitting a trough at age 41. 

Meanwhile, while The National Sleep Foundation recommends between seven and nine hours' slumber a day, research by the Sleep Council has found the average Briton gets just six hours and 35 minutes. And while 70 per cent of people sleep for seven hours or less, third of the population get by on five to six hours a night.

According to research by Surrey University, the genes associated with diabetes and cancer were more active in those who slept for six and a half hours, compared with those who slept for an hour more.