The Big Sleep for ME was launched in 2012 by Julia Cottam (pictured) of Team Let’s Do It for ME for Invest in ME charity (now also known as Invest in ME Research) as an annual event for ME Awareness Week – 12th May is the International Day of ME Awareness.

Many with ME (Myalgic Encephalomyelitis) have to spend a lot of time lying down either on a sofa or in bed. Some sufferers are completely bedbound. The ‘sleepathon’ is easy and flexible to take part in and means that anyone, even those with severe ME, can join in. All you need to do is lie back, make yourself comfortable, and, if you really want to, sleep!

Do it at home or anywhere that takes your fancy, either on your own or as a group. And if you feel like it, dress up for the occasion. If fundraising, get people to sponsor you, and for awareness, just let others know you’re taking part. The same applies if you are holding your own ‘sleep inspired’ event.

Whilst the sleepathon runs during ME Awareness week each year in May, this doesn’t mean you can’t have your own sleepathon or ‘sleep inspired’ event for Invest in ME Research at other times of the year. We need to keep up the pace if we’re going to beat ME.

Read on to find out how to take part in the Big Sleep for ME.
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Unfortunately, Julia was too ill with ME to run the event in the recent years as she had done in the past. We hope that this event can still be a success. Let’s show Julia we can do it and raise funds in honour of her great enthusiasm and tremendous efforts to get people involved in previous years. You can find The Big Sleep for ME on Facebook and Twitter.

To help raise funds, you can either create your own JustGiving page for Invest in ME Research or use our group page on JustGiving. Download a sponsorship form if needed and contact Invest in ME Research for charity collection boxes and other fundraising aids. If you can’t take part, but would like to support the event you can always sponsor someone you know, or make a donation.  Get in touch if you need any help. 

Ormskirk Champion Brownies and Guides

The Big Sleep for ME has raised over £20K to date and lots of awareness too. The event has included mass sleepathons, PJ parties, PJ Pride Days, Sleepwalks, Sleep-cycles and more. The event also has its own shop with Spreadshirt where you can buy Big Sleep merchandise such as sleepwear and tops.

Whilst the event is about having fun it also has a serious side which is to not only raise much needed awareness of and funds for the Centre of Excellence, but also to increase awareness of ME generally. The inaugural Big Sleep for ME sleepathon raised much needed awareness during ME Awareness Week 2012 getting coverage in the Maldon and Burnham Standard. This kind of coverage has continued thanks to enthusiastic supporters such as Ormskirk Brownies and Guides who’s event featured in Ormskirk and Skelmersdale Advertiser and Sally Ager-Harris who’s event at the Cross Keys pub in Pangbourne featured in Newbury Today. Holding your own Big Sleep event is a great chance to raise some awareness so don’t be shy.

Thank you for your support! 


With special thanks to Julia Cottam for all the hard work she’s put into developing and launching this inclusive and positive venture, as well as to everyone who has so for taken part.

We can all make a difference to ME!