World Sleep Day!

Sleep

18th March 2022 is World Sleep Day. Hosted by World Sleep Society (WSS), it is a day in the calendar that is globally celebrated on the Friday before Spring Vernal Equinox each year. It began in 2008, and was started by a group of healthcare providers and members of the medical community working and studying in the field of sleep medicine and research.

It is aimed at promoting all the important issues surrounding sleep, hoping to achieve better prevention and management of sleep disorders, and reduce the burden that sleep problems can cause in today’s society.

The goal is to promote the importance of healthy sleep and how it needs to be prioritised even amongst the challenge of the modern day’s 24/7 culture.

For 2022 the theme and slogan is Quality Sleep, Sound Mind, Happy World

The quality of our sleep can affect our health and wellbeing - mentally, emotionally and physically. Good quality sleep and improved sleep patterns can help us to avoid fatigue, manage stress and boost our focus throughout the day.

We all need sleep for repair and recovery, to help keep our bodies working optimally. Adults are recommended by experts to need 7 – 8 hours a night. The more of these hours you can have uninterrupted, the better you will feel.

So how can we improve the quality of our sleep?

Try sticking consistently every day to set sleep and wake times – even on weekends. This will avoid disruption to your circadian rhythm (internal body clock) and melatonin levels (a natural hormone produced in the body that regulates the sleep-wake cycles). Avoid long or unplanned naps – a regular sleep schedule and pattern is important in helping you to drift off and maintain uninterrupted sleep.

Create a restful environment. It is important to minimise sleep disturbances. A cool, dark and quiet room is ideal for sleeping. Creating a relaxing environment can be key to getting a good night’s sleep. 

For example:

-          Using dimmable lighting/ lamp shades

-          Replacing uncomfortable bedding and worn out mattresses,

-          Fitting quality blinds/curtains to adequately block out external light sources

-          Keeping your bedroom at a comfortable temperature (around 20°C is normally best for most people)

-          Consider the use of additional devices to help create an environment that suits your needs e.g. ear plugs, fans

Avoid the prolonged use of light-emitting screens just before bedtime. Switching off your television, tablets and phones for an hour or more before bed will mean you are less exposed to the blue light that can keep us awake and prevent us from dropping off to sleep. Try calming activities before bed instead that might promote better sleep, such as reading a book, taking a nice warm bath or listening to some soothing music.

Pay attention to your food and drink. Avoid caffeinated drinks late on in the day as these have stimulating effects that could affect the quality of your sleep. Avoid eating a heavy or large meal late at night. Going to bed stuffed and having to digest a big meal could delay you falling asleep. Make sure you avoid going to bed hungry as well as the discomfort could keep you awake and affect your sleep quality.

Get plenty of physical activity during the day. Regular exercise can help promote better sleep, as it reduces the levels of stress hormones in the body such as cortisol. Though it is best to avoid anything too strenuous or high intensity late in the evening, as this can disrupt your sleep patterns and make it harder for you to drop off to sleep.

Manage your worries. Keep a notebook by your bed to jot down any thoughts, ideas or jobs to consider for the following day. Making a note can help you to feel reassured that you won’t forget something important, and can help you to drop off to sleep easier. Stress management techniques can also help – prioritising and delegating tasks, decluttering, and organising your diary. Relaxation techniques such as yoga, deep breathing, mindfulness and meditation can also ease anxiety and help improve your sleep.

Additional help in managing your stress can possibly be achieved also by looking at natural herbal alternatives. Adding adaptogens which are a class of rejuvenating herbs to your daily diet can prove helpful for fighting stress, anxiety and fatigue by balancing the way the body adapts and responds. Ashwagandha is one such adaptogenic herb that has traditionally been used for its rejuvenating and restorative benefits. It is said to boost the immune system as well as reducing stress and fatigue. By modulating the body's cortisol levels and the response to stress and changing environments, it helps the body to maintain its fine balance in order to cope with external and internal stresses we face. KSM-66® Ashwaghanda is the highest concentration full spectrum extract on the market.

Studies have shown Ashwagandha to improve sleep quality as well as sleep onset latency (the time it takes to fall asleep) demonstrating it to be a potential treatment for adults with insomnia and anxiety[¹].Ashwagandha

Check out the hashtags #SleepResearch and #WorldSleepDay and visit their website to show support and see how you can get involved https://worldsleepday.org/