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World Sleep Day is observed annually on the third Friday in March. This year it falls on the 17th. World Sleep Day is observed to highlight the importance of rest. It aims to lessen the burden of sleep problems on society through better prevention and management of sleep disorders. The fundamental mission of the World Sleep Society is to advance sleep health worldwide. It is 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.
Importance of Sleep
Wondering why is there a day for celebrating sleep! Well, that shows how important sleep is for humans. Sleeping is a basic human need. Sleep is vital for our health and well being. Getting quality sleep at the right time helps protect our mental health, physical health, quality of life, and safety. When we sleep, our body works to support healthy brain function and maintain our physical health. A good night’s sleep helps the brain function properly and improves learning. It also helps to improve concentration and productivity. Low sleep quality increases the risk of heart diseases.
Sleep stages are divided into non–rapid eye movement (NREM) and rapid eye movement (REM). There are four stages of sleep:
- The first stage of the sleep cycle is a transition period between wakefulness and sleep.
- People spend approximately 50% of their total sleep time in stage two, which lasts for about 20 minutes per cycle.
- In stage three, deep, slow brain waves known as delta waves begin to emerge. This stage that is also referred to as delta sleep.
- In the fourth stage, we enter the REM mode. During this stage our brain’s activity most closely resembles its activity during waking hours but our voluntary muscles become immobilized.
Most research suggests that an individual should get between seven to nine hours of sleep every night for optimal health. Children and teenagers need substantially more sleep. A healthy diet and positive lifestyle habits can help one get adequate amount of sleep at night.
Sleep Deprivation and It’s Effects
Sleep deprivation is a condition that occurs if you don’t get enough or proper sleep. Getting less than 7 hours of sleep on a regular basis can eventually lead to health consequences that affect our entire body. Sleep deficiency can lead to physical and mental health problems, injuries, loss of productivity and many more problems. Ongoing sleep deficiency is linked to an increased risk of heart disease, kidney disease, high blood pressure, diabetes, and stroke. Sleep deficiency also increases the risk of obesity. Sleep deficiency results in a higher than normal blood sugar level, which may increase your risk for diabetes. When we are deprived of sleep, our ability to focus on tasks, reflexes, and reaction times decreases. It weakens our immune system making us more susceptible to viral attacks.
Some signs of sleep deprivation are:
- Excessive sleepiness
- Frequent yawning
- Reduced reflexes
World Sleep Day History
World Sleep Day was initiated by the World Sleep Society in 2008 to raise awareness about the importance of sleep. The primary objective of the World Sleep Day was to gather healthcare professionals from all around the world to interact and share information about importance of sleep.
World Sleep Day Theme
The theme for World Sleep Day 2022 is Quality Sleep, Sound Mind, Happy World. On World Sleep Day, all sleep professionals educate people about the importance of sleep for achieving an optimal quality of life and improving global health.
World Sleep Day Quotes
- “Sleep is a golden chain that ties health and our bodies together” – Thomas Dekker
- “Early to bed and early to rise, makes a man healthy, wealthy and wise”
- “Sleep is the best meditation.” – Dalai Lama
- “A good laugh and a long sleep are the best cures in the doctor’s book.” – Irish proverb
- “True silence is the rest of the mind, and is to the spirit what sleep is to the body, nourishment and refreshment.” – William Penn
- “Sleep is God. Go worship.” –
- “There is a time for many words, and there is also a time for sleep.” –
- “Even a soul submerged in sleep is hard at work and helps make something of the world.” –
- “The main facts in human life are five: birth, food, sleep, love and death.” –
- “Not being able to sleep is awful. You have the suffering of having partied all evening without complete satisfaction.” – Lynn Johnston
Ways to Get Good Sleep
- Establish a realistic bedtime and stick to it every night, even on the weekends.
- Abstain from caffeine, alcohol, and large meals a few hours before bedtime.
- Minimize noise, light and excessive hot and cold temperatures in the room you sleep
- Get regular exercise
- Limit daytime naps
- Avoiding screen time at least an hour before bed.
- Increase bright light exposure during the day
- Relax and clear your mind before you go to sleep.
- Take a relaxing bath
- Get a comfortable bed and pillow
World Sleep Day Quiz
Which of the following is known as the sleep hormone?
Ans: b) Melatonin
Which of the following foods could affect sleep if eaten close to bedtime?
Ans: a) Coffee
Sleep loss can cause which of the following?
a) Poor decision making
c) Impaired driving
d) All of the above
Ans: d) All of the above
How many different stages of sleep are there in a normal sleep cycle?
Ans: d) Four
What does REM stand for in the REM sleep stage?
a) Rapid eye movement
b) Resting eye movement
c) Resting endocrine motility
d) Rapid external motion
Ans: a) Rapid eye movement
World Sleep Day is designed to raise awareness of sleep as a human privilege that is often compromised by the habits of modern life. Nowadays, many people don’t get enough sleep at night, mostly because of some terrible habits. Many have turned into night owls who love to do so many things at night instead of the daytime. We should make sleep one of our top priorities.