We spend up to one-third of our lives sleeping. Sleep is a basic human need, much like eating and drinking, and is crucial to our overall health and well-being.
Why was World Sleep Day created?
Sleep professionals and researchers were faced with the same dilemma over and over again: the belief that sleep is not important enough in health and well-being to be a priority. This, along with the modern world’s fast-paced, 24/7 flow, prompted the founders of this awareness event to celebrate the importance of healthy sleep.
So why is sleep so important? Click on the icons below to find out
It is easier to achieve quality sleep when we set ourselves up for success. Tips for this include:
- Getting up at a similar time every day, ideally followed by getting outside and moving around. Natural sunlight or bright light during the day helps keep our body’s natural time-keeping clock healthy
- Giving yourself enough time in the evening to relax and clear your mind. Try a warm bath or shower with relaxing music to unwind from the day. You could also try having 5 minutes of ‘worry time’ before bed: write down all the things on your mind and leave them on the paper
- Try and reduce your blue light exposure – this is the light from phones, computers, and televisions. This can trick your brain into thinking it’s still daytime and stops the brain from producing our natural sleep hormone
- Avoid caffeine late in the day – this stays in your blood for 6-8 hours and may stop your body from naturally relaxing at night. Caffeine is found in coffee, energy drinks, tea, certain fizzy drinks, and chocolate
- Reduce irregular or long daytime naps – this can confuse our body’s natural time-keeping clock! Aim to go to bed at the same time every night
- Make your bedroom sleep friendly – it should be cool, dark, and quiet. A quick tidy up, some clean sheets and a cosy bed is a good place to start and think about using an eye mask or ear plugs if needed
- Exercise regularly, but not right before bed. Some gentle yoga may help relax you instead
- If you struggle with nightmares and find yourself awake, try a grounding technique to help calm you
- Make yourself a bedtime playlist of music you find helpful to fall asleep to. Some people find instrumental music most helpful. You may find relaxing sounds such as waves may help you drift off
- If you are struggling to sleep after about an hour, get up, try reading for a bit and then return to bed
So, what do we need for good quality sleep?
- Duration: The length of sleep should be enough for you to feel rested and alert the following day.
- Continuity: Sleep periods should be seamless – this means sleep should not be interrupted
- Depth: Sleep should be deep enough to restore health, strength, and well-being