Hosted since 2008, World Sleep Day is a global awareness act that celebrates sleep and aims to help those with serious sleep problems. Celebrated on the Friday before Spring Vernal Equinox of each year, this holiday has an annual 155 events held across the world and is participated by over 70 countries.
This day is designed to raise awareness of the importance of sleep. No person on this earth does not like sleep. But not many get a good night’s sleep. Getting enough sleep is essential for good health and well-being. Sleep is not just an activity; it is an exercise that the body needs daily. Well, we have always focused on the quantity of sleep but ignore the quality. Quality refers to how well you slept. Each person is different and the recommended hours of sleep can differ accordingly.
The key determinants of quality sleep are:
- Sleeping more time while in bed (at least 85 percent of the total time)
- Falling asleep in 30 minutes or less
- Waking up not more than once per night; and
- Being awake for 20 minutes or less after initially falling asleep.
Benefits of Sleeping
- Better productivity and concentration – Sleep is important for various aspects of brain function. Sleep helps the brain work properly and has even been shown to improve learning. Conversely, those who suffer from sleep deprivation may find it more difficult than others to solve problems, make decisions and cope with change.
- Lower weight gain risk –Chronic sleep deprivation may cause weight gain by affecting the way our bodies process and store carbohydrates, and by altering levels of hormones that affect our appetite. Several studies have linked sleep deficiency to obesity. Besides, researchers have found sleep deficiency may increase an individual’s risk of heart disease, kidney disease, high blood pressure, and other long-lasting health issues.
- Better Calorie Regulation – When you think of how to burn calories, sleep doesn’t often come to mind. But your body is still burning them, even when you’re sleeping. You burn more calories when you are in deep sleep than when you are just lying reading in bed or tossing and turning.
- Stronger Immune System –During sleep, your body repairs itself. Sleep is your body’s mechanism to ward off infection. When you don’t get enough sleep, your immune system gets weak, making you more susceptible to illness.
- Mood Boost– Another thing that your brain does while you sleep is process your emotions. Your mind needs this time to recognize and react the right way. When you cut that short, you tend to have more negative emotional reactions and fewer positive ones. Sleep loss may result in irritability, impatience, inability to concentrate, and moodiness. Too little sleep can also leave you too tired to do the things you like to do.
How to improve sleep quality
- Avoid sleeping in when you have had enough sleep.
- Go to bed around the same time each night.
- Be more active during the day.
- Reduce stress through exercise, therapy, or other means.
Tips for Better Sleeping
- Establish a regular bedtime and waking time.
- If you are in the habit of taking siestas, do not exceed 45 minutes of daytime sleep.
- Avoid excessive alcohol ingestion 4 hours before bedtime, and do not smoke.
- Avoid caffeine 6 hours before bedtime. This includes coffee, tea, and many sodas, as well as chocolate.
- Avoid heavy, spicy, or sugary foods 4 hours before bedtime. A light snack before bed is acceptable.
- Exercise regularly, but not right before bed.
- Use comfortable, inviting bedding.
- Find a comfortable sleep temperature setting and keep the room well ventilated.
- Block out all distracting noise and eliminate as much light as possible.
- Reserve your bed for sleep and sex, avoiding its use for work or general recreation.
Regularly sleeping for more than 9 hours a night may do more harm than good. Researchers have found that people who slept longer had more calcium build-up in their heart arteries and less flexible leg arteries, too.