World Sleep Day is March 19
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World Sleep Day is celebrated every year on the Friday before the northern hemisphere vernal equinox. It is an annual event established in 2008 by the World Sleep Society, formerly the World Association of Sleep Medicine. Keep reading to find out more about World Sleep Day, how you can have healthier sleep habits, how to participate, and what to do if you struggle with healthy sleep.
What Is World Sleep Day?
According to the official World Sleep Day Committee, the goal of World Sleep Day is to celebrate the benefits of good and healthy sleep and to draw society’s attention to the burden of sleep problems and their medical, educational, and social aspects, and to promote the prevention and management of sleep disorders. In addition, World Sleep Day is a call to all sleep professionals to advocate and educate the world about the importance of sleep for achieving an optimal quality of life and improve global health.
Every year, the World Sleep Day Committee chooses a slogan for the year’s holiday to help highlight certain aspects of healthy sleep. This year, the slogan is ‘Regular Sleep, Healthy Future’. Slogans from World Sleep Days in years past include:
- 2020 “Better Sleep, Better Life, Better Planet”
- 2019 “Healthy Sleep, Healthy Aging”
- 2018 “Join the Sleep World, Preserve Your Rhythms to Enjoy Life”
- 2017 “Sleep Soundly, Nurture Life”
- 2016 “Good Sleep is a Reachable Dream”
- 2015 “When Sleep is Sound, Health and Happiness Abound”
- 2014 “Restful Sleep, Easy Breathing, Healthy Body”
- 2013 “Good Sleep, Healthy Aging”
- 2012 “Breathe Easily, Sleep Well”
- 2011 “Sleep Well, Grow Healthy”
- 2010 “Sleep Well, Stay Healthy”
- 2009 “Drive Alert, Arrive Safe”
- 2008 “Sleep Well, Live Fully Awake”
According to the official World Sleep Day website, The 2021 slogan ‘Regular Sleep, Healthy Future’ is based on the benefits that regular sleep offers. Studies have demonstrated that stable bedtimes and rise times are associated with better sleep quality in young, middle-aged adults, and seniors. Regular sleepers have a better mood, psychomotor performance, and academic achievement.
10 Steps to Achieve Healthy Sleep
The World Sleep Society recommends the following 10 steps to achieve healthy sleep:
- Fix a bedtime and an awakening time. This is one of the most important parts of having healthy sleep so that your body can get into a healthy rhythm that helps throughout the day as well.
- Limit naps. If you are in the habit of taking a nap, do not exceed 45 minutes of daytime sleep. Longer daytime sleep can affect the quality of your nighttime sleep.
- Avoid excessive alcohol ingestion 4 hours before bedtime and do not smoke. Alcohol and smoking can interfere with sleep as well as cause night sweats, nightmares, and more.
- Avoid caffeine 6 hours before bedtime. This includes coffee, tea, and many sodas, as well as chocolate. Caffeine is a stimulant that can interfere with your body’s natural sleep schedule.
- Avoid heavy, spicy, or sugary foods 4 hours before bedtime. A light snack before bed is acceptable, but make sure it is something healthy that won’t give you a boost of energy.
- Exercise regularly, but not right before bed. Exercise is an important part of healthy sleep, but should be done earlier in the day. This is because exercise releases endorphins and adrenaline, which can cause you to stay up later.
- Use comfortable bedding. Invest in a new mattress and new pillows if possible, and keep your bedding clean and appealing to curl up in.
- Find a comfortable temperature setting for sleeping and keep the room well ventilated. Becoming too cold or too warm while you’re sleeping will cause your body to wake up and interrupt your sleep.
- Block out all distracting noise and eliminate as much light as possible. Investing in blackout curtains, a sleep mask, and earplugs can do wonders for your sleep if this is something you might be struggling with.
- Reserve the bed for sleep. Don’t use the bed as an office, workroom, or recreation room. It is important that you have a dedicated sleep area so that you do not become distracted while trying to fall asleep.
What is Healthy Sleep?
Healthy sleep is much more than spending 8 hours or so a night in bed. According to the Sleep Foundation, healthy sleep includes the following:
- You fall asleep soon after getting into bed, within 30 minutes or less
- You typically sleep straight through the night, waking up no more than once per night
- You’re able to sleep the recommended amount of hours for your age group
- You fall back asleep within 20 minutes if you do wake up
- You feel rested, restored, and energized upon waking up in the morning
How to Participate in World Sleep Day
World Sleep Day is much more than just another awareness holiday on the calendar. There are ways you can celebrate and participate in World Sleep Day, according to the World Sleep Day Committee. These include:
- Organizing an event. This can help to create excitement and generate interest in World Sleep Day, however, it can be difficult with current public health guidelines in your area. This year, the event you organize might need to be a virtual one or only with close family and friends.
- Circulating the official press release. You can help the official World Sleep Day committee spread the word by circulating the press release with your local sleep experts and local media.
- Distributing sleep patient literature. This includes things such as booklets, leaflets, and newsletters. Mail them to your friends and family, leave them on your front porch, and give stacks to local businesses and shopping centers.
- Spreading the word on social media. By using #WorldSleepDay, you can help spread the word on social media to other people who may not know about World Sleep Day.
- Follow the 10 steps. If you’re having trouble with your sleep, use World Sleep Day as the first step toward healthier sleep by following the 10 steps mentioned earlier in this blog. If you are still having trouble, make sure you give us a call.
What If My Sleep Isn’t Healthy?
Are you finding that you do not have healthy sleep habits? Here are some signs that your sleep quality needs to improve, according to the Sleep Foundation.
- You take more than 30 minutes to fall asleep after you get into bed
- You regularly wake up more than once per night
- You lie awake for more than 20 minutes when you wake up in the middle of the night
- You spend less than 85 percent of your time in bed asleep
- You feel tired and have difficulty concentrating during the day
- You may be drinking more caffeine to stay alert
- Your skin is breaking out and your eyes are puffy, red, or developing dark circles or bags
- You feel hungry more often, especially for junk food, and gaining weight
- You feel more stressed out, emotionally exhausted, and angrier than usual
- You’ve been diagnosed with insomnia
If you aren’t sure why you can’t achieve healthy sleep, one of the reasons might be that you’re suffering from sleep apnea. Sleep apnea is one of the most common sleep disorders and can affect men, women, and children, however, it is most common in men and pre/post-menopausal women.
Sleep apnea is a condition marked by abnormal breathing during sleep. People with sleep apnea have multiple extended pauses in a breath when they sleep. These temporary breathing lapses cause lower-quality sleep and affect the body’s supply of oxygen, leading to potentially serious health consequences.
Types of Sleep Apnea
There are three types of sleep apnea:
- Obstructive sleep apnea: OSA occurs when the airway at the back of the throat becomes physically blocked. That obstruction causes temporary lapses in breath, snoring, and much more. The airway can be blocked for a number of reasons, and surgery to remove the obstruction is a great way to help fix the problem.
- Central sleep apnea: CSA happens because there is a problem with the brain’s system for controlling muscles involved in respiration, leading to slower and shallower breathing.
- Mixed sleep apnea: When a person has both OSA and CSA at the same time, it is referred to as mixed sleep apnea or complex sleep apnea.
Signs and Symptoms
If you are having trouble figuring out the reason why you cannot achieve healthy sleep, a great step is to consider the signs and symptoms of sleep apnea. This can be difficult without a partner to help, a recording device, or a sleep study, but it can help make a huge difference in your quality of life if you take the time to do it.
- Disrupted breathing in which a person’s respiration can become labored or even stop for up to a minute at a time
- Excessive daytime sleepiness
- Morning headaches
- Limited attention span or difficulty thinking clearly
- Snoring that is especially loud and involves gasping, choking, or snorting that may cause a person to briefly wake up
- Morning sore throat or dry mouth
- Frequent need to wake up to urinate
Dangers of Sleep Apnea
Having sleep apnea and unhealthy sleep habits is much more than having a tough time at night, it can make your day tough as well. In the spirit of World Sleep Day, it is important to know the dangers of sleep apnea.
Sleep apnea will give you a poor quality of sleep, which can lead to many issues throughout the day. These include:
- Memory issues
- Mood changes
- Weakened immunity
- Low sex drive
- Poor balance
- Weight gain
- Trouble concentrating
In addition, because of how it affects oxygen balance in the body, untreated sleep apnea raises dangers for various types of cardiovascular issues including high blood pressure, heart attack, heart disease, and stroke.
How to Get Help
If you are ready to fix your unhealthy sleep issues related to Sleep Apnea and get your life back on track in the spirit of World Health Day, here are some ways that you can get help.
- Take part in a sleep study. This will help diagnose you with sleep apnea so that you can get the proper care and treatment plan you need.
- Try sleep devices. These can include a mouthpiece specially fitted to your mouth, such as the ones we can provide at Gormal Wellness. All you have to do is make an appointment with us, get fitted for the device, and you will be on the first step on your journey to healthier sleep.
- Consider surgery. As mentioned, the most common type of sleep apnea is caused by an obstruction in the airway. The best way to fix this issue, aside from mouthpieces and CPAP machines, is to consider surgery to remove the obstruction. At Gorman Wellness, we can help consult with you about this option.