The government is set to issue national guidance on how many hours sleep people should be getting a night, according to reports.

Recommendations will be made for people of different ages and there will also be a review of the evidence on the relationship between sleep and health, The Times reports.

The paper quoted from a leaked draft of a public health green paper which it said was due to be published by Health Secretary Matt Hancock.

It said much of the draft was focused on obesity and smoking, but that it also made reference to sleep.

Extracts reportedly say: “As a first step the government will review the evidence on sleep and health.

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“This is with a view to informing the case for clear national guidance on the daily recommended hours of sleep for individuals in different age brackets and to raise awareness of the key ‘sleep hygiene’ factors that can support healthy sleeping.”

A Department of Health spokeswoman said the government did not comment on leaks.

A German team of scientists, writing in a study published in the Journal of Experimental Medicine, said they had discovered that sleep improves the ability of immune cells to hit their targets and fight off infection earlier this year.