How have you been sleeping lately? Although we recognize the importance of lifestyle to our lifelong health, many people forget that sleep is also part of this healthy lifestyle. Your sleep — or lack thereof — is one of the most important factors in your health both today and throughout your life.
World Sleep Day was observed on March 13th in order to promote awareness of sleep’s role in mental and physical health. Unlike other holidays, the purpose of this event is to help you learn more about the ways you can sleep better and achieve the optimal health that you deserve all year long.
World Sleep Day: Recognizing the Importance of Sleep
Friday, March 13th was a day dedicated to recognizing the importance of sleep, not just to your personal health but to global health overall. Even as our globe is focused on the dangers of pandemic viral disease, we should take measures to remain as healthy as possible.
This event involves global experts from a variety of disciplines, including scientists, health care professionals and people who suffer from sleep disorders. Together, these experts put together a set of ten recommendations that can help us to achieve better sleep.
Sleep is not just important to your personal health. People who get better sleep are more productive and more capable of solving problems. Sleep makes us less likely to get into accidents in our daily commute and on the job. In addition, sleeping more will decrease our usage of fuel and electricity, making this a green choice.
The Ten Commandments of Sleep
The people behind this event have compiled a list of ten “commandments” for having a healthy sleep life:
1. Establish a regular sleep schedule, going to bed and waking at the same time every day.
2. Avoid napping, limiting yourself to a maximum of 45 minutes of sleep during the day.
3. Drink alcohol only lightly (if at all!) in the four hours before your bedtime and abstain from nicotine altogether.
4. Stay away from foods and drinks that contain caffeine in the six hours before you go to bed.
5. Although light snacks before bed can help you to sleep, you should avoid spicy and sweet foods in the evening and night.
6. Get plenty of exercise during the day, but not before bed.
7. Make your bed or sleeping area as comfortable and calming as possible.
8. Keep your bedroom ventilated and at a comfortable temperature.
9. Avoid noise and lights that may interfere with falling and staying asleep.
10. Use your bed only for sleep and sex, avoiding reading, television and work in this area.
These tips are also known as “sleep hygiene,” a phrase that refers to behaviors and lifestyle choices that help to promote healthy sleep. Good sleep hygiene is the most important factor in your sleep quality and quantity.
Why is Sleep Important?
Why do we need a special day dedicated to sleep? Although implementing sleep hygiene can require change and sacrifice, it will pay off in better overall health. People who sleep better function better throughout the day and feel better as well. In addition, there are other benefits to sleep.
When we have slept well, we perform better in cognitive and physical tasks throughout the day. This leads to working better and getting more exercise in addition to simply feeling more alert and happy. In fact, sleep has been found to be crucial in forming and storing memories.
In addition, sleep appears to be a time when our bodies complete crucial “housekeeping” tasks. Our DNA is repaired from the stresses of the day, which reduces stress on tissues. This is believed to be the reason that people who get enough sleep have a lower risk of diabetes and heart disease.
In addition, our brains remove harmful waste products when we slumber, helping us to be at our personal best while lowering the risk of Alzheimer’s disease and other forms of dementia.
Sleep: Important Every Day of the Year
For your own physical and mental health, it is important to get the sleep that you need not just on one day in March, but every night of the year. Experts recommend getting seven to nine hours every night of uninterrupted sleep time for optimal health.
If you struggle with insomnia or other common sleep disorders, good sleep hygiene is the first step to a healthier life. Although the ten commandments of sleep may seem basic, they are often successful in helping people to get the rest that they need. Keeping solid sleep habits is one of the most important factors in a healthy lifestyle.