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Today, 15 March, is World Sleep Day, an annual event to celebrate healthy sleep, and to call attention to important issues related to sleep, including sleep problems and disorders. The day is organised by the World Association of Sleep Medicine (WASM).

A good night of sleep - just what the doctor ordered.(© All Rights Reserved)

A good night of sleep – just what the doctor ordered.
(© All Rights Reserved)

A good night’s sleep is critical for a healthy body and mind. Yet, sleep deprivation is becoming more and more common – a trend that robs millions of people of the necessary rest and rejuvenation offered by adequate, quality sleep. Sleep deprivation is harmful to the body’s metabolism and endocrine functions, and may increase the severity of age-related chronic disorders.

Conversely, researchers agree that adequate sleep has numerous benefits – it improves energy levels, boosts productivity and sociability, and increases overall wellbeing. Quality sleep can also strengthen your immune system and improve your memory. It helps you metabolise sugar, thus helping to fight diabetes, and it can help prevent hypertension, heart disease and stroke.

Your environment has a major impact on sleep quality. Factors like temperature, noise, light, bed comfort and electronic distractions (TV, computers) all affect one’s ability to get a proper night’s rest. As far as noise is concerned, intermittent sounds (cars honking or revving, alarms going off, etc) are said to be more disturbing than even rather high levels of continuous noise. As such, many city-dwellers suffer from chronic sleep deprivation – a condition that affects their moods and can have numerous detrimental health effects.

To improve your sleep, consider the following suggestions:

  • Make your bed inviting – invest in comfortable pillows, good quality sheets etc.
  • Turn out the lights – darken the room and eliminate possible light with curtains or shades.
  • Turn off the TV – ideally keep TVs, computers, cell phones and other electronic devices out of the bedroom.
  • Turn down the volume – turn off all electronics, close the door, block out external noises using heavy curtains.
  • Adjust the thermostat – try to maintain a temperature that you are comfortable at; not too warm or too cold.
  • Protect your bed – keep your bed a sanctuary for sleep and sex only; it is not an office or recreational space for the family.

With that, all that’s left for me is to wish you all a happy sleep!

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