World Sleep Day is an annual event, intended to be a celebration of sleep and a call to action on important issues related to sleep, including medicine, education, social aspects, and driving. It is organised by the World Sleep Day Committee of the World Sleep Society and aims to lessen the burden of sleep problems on society through better prevention and management of sleep disorders.
Getting enough sleep is essential for maintaining optimal health and well-being. The theme this year for World Sleep Day is 'Sleep is Essential for Health', highlighting the importance sleep has on our overall health and wellbeing.
Why is Sleep Essential for Health?
On average we spend a third of our lives sleeping! Sleep is a behaviour that is foundational to one's physical, mental, and social well-being, without it, we cannot function effectively. Whilst we sleep, our brain is not only strengthening memories, but it is also reorganising them, picking out the emotional details and helping us produce new insights and creative ideas.
Research has uncovered that brain activity during sleep has profound effects on emotional and mental health. World Sleep Day 2023 emphasises the importance and relation sleep and health have on individuals, poor sleep can increase the risk of having poor health and poor health problems make it harder to sleep.
Poor sleep over a sustained period of time leads to a number of problems which are immediately recognisable, including fatigue, sleepiness, poor concentration, lapses in memory, and irritability. Between 10% and 30% of adults struggle with insomnia, and those with severe insomnia are seven times more likely to have work-related incidents. It is also shown that people with chronic insomnia may be significantly more likely to develop a mood disorder, such as depression or anxiety, than people without insomnia. This can further affect your mood, energy, and ability to stay awake and function during the day.
During sleep, your body is working to support healthy brain function and maintain your physical health. Not only does sleep allow your body the time it needs to rest, repair, and rebuild, but it does the same for your mind too. Getting a good night’s sleep can help keep your energy levels up. But plenty of rest can also help to keep your mind from wandering and maintain your attention throughout the day. Sleep is essential for health in children and young people because it helps with mental, physical, social, and emotional development as it allows their brain to memorise and analyse important information.
Steps to Improve Your Sleep and Health
As sleep is essential for health, World Sleep Day 2023 encourages people to take steps to improve their health through prioritising their quality of sleep. Many factors can interfere with a good night's sleep — from work stress and family responsibilities to illnesses.
The recommended amount of sleep for a healthy adult is at least seven hours. Establishing a regular bedtime and waking time, including weekends, is very important as it reinforces your body’s sleep-wake cycle, making you feel awake and refreshed during the day. It can also help you feel relaxed and sleepy at night, allowing you to be ready for a long, restful night of sleep.
A common cause of sleeping problems is poor sleep hygiene. A recent study of the prevalence of sleep disorders investigated over 20,000 patients in the Netherlands who were aged 12 years old or older. The study showed 32% of respondents complained of experiencing general sleep disturbances while 43.2% said they suffered from insufficient sleep. Cultivating habits and bedroom settings that are conductive to sleep can help improve your sleep hygiene and can go a long way in reducing sleep disruptions. Sleeping with a light on interferes with sleep cycles and causes more fragmented sleep, and these downsides may be greatest in the few hours before waking up.
Research indicates that exercise decreases sleep complaints and insomnia in patients. However, avoid being active too close to bedtime as it doesn’t allow time for your core body temperature to cool down. This can further delay and effect your quality of sleep. In addition to this, technology can also affect your quality of sleep, as it affects the brain, stimulating your mind and making it harder for you to fall asleep. Light therapy, and blue light in particular, can help realign the body’s circadian rhythms and improve sleep.
How Wellity Can Support You
Wellity want to support your teams and organisations around this significant topic and highlight how sleep is essential for health. Our session ‘The Secret to Sleeping Soundly’ explores sleep hygiene, chronotypes and simple but effective ways to get a restful and quality night’s sleep.
Identifying the importance of quality sleep
Learning how to create routines for your mind
Establishing small changes that make a big difference
Learning why blue light matters
Creating a space for sleep
For more information on other training topics we offer surrounding World Sleep Day 2023, contact our Wellity team at email@example.com for details.