World Sleep Day is an annual event that takes place on the Friday before the Spring Equinox. The event is organized by the World Sleep Society, which is a non-profit organization dedicated to promoting sleep health and education.
This year, the event is observed on the 17th of March 2023. Members of the World Sleep Society, experts, and community health advocates in over 70 countries will be organizing local, regional, and national activities to promote sleep health.
What is the day about?
The purpose of the celebration is to raise awareness of the importance of it and the impact that it has on our health and well-being. Each year, the event focuses on a different theme related to it, such as ageing, the environment, or sleep and technology. In 2023, the theme is ‘sleep is essential for health’. Just like eating well and exercising, sleep is a behaviour that is foundational to one’s physical, mental, and social well-being. However, it is not yet commonly considered an essential behaviour for good health.
The World Sleep Society encourages individuals, organizations, and communities to participate in World Sleep Day by organizing events and activities to promote health and education. Some examples of activities that may take place on this day include:
- Awareness campaigns in schools and workplaces
- Screenings and consultations
- Workshops and seminars on sleep health and education
- Public lectures and talks on sleep-related topics
- Social media campaigns to raise awareness of sleep health
What are the tips for better sleep?
Good hygiene involves creating a conducive sleep environment and adopting healthy habits to promote better quality rest. Here are some tips for a good night of sleep:
- Stick to the schedule: Try to go to bed and wake up at roughly the same time every day, even on weekends or holidays, to regulate your body’s bio-clock.
- Create a relaxing rest environment: Keep your bedroom dark, quiet, and cool. Use comfortable bedding and a supportive mattress. Avoid using the bedroom for purposes other than sleep and sex, such as working, and entertaining.
- Avoid stimulants: Avoid caffeine, nicotine, and alcohol, especially in the hours leading up to bedtime, as they can disrupt your rest.
- Limit electronic devices: Avoid using electronic devices such as phones, tablets, and laptops in the bedroom as the blue light emitted from these devices can interfere with your rest.
- Exercise regularly: Exercise can promote better quality rest, but it is best to avoid vigorous exercise in the hours leading up to bedtime. Find a time to exercise regularly on a daily basis that can fit into your schedule.
- Wind down before bedtime: Establish a relaxing bedtime routine, such as taking a warm bath, reading a book, or practising relaxation techniques like deep breathing or meditation. Avoid loud music or emotionally intense activities prior to going to bed.
- Limit daytime naps: Napping during the day can interfere with your ability to sleep at night. If you do nap, limit it to 20-30 minutes and avoid napping late in the day.
- Manage stress: Stress and anxiety can interfere with rest. Try to manage stress through activities such as yoga, meditation, or talking to a therapist.
Why am I still tired after a long ‘good’ night of sleep?
There are a few reasons for this question. Most importantly, certain medical conditions might result in unrefreshing sleep:
- Sleep Apnoea: This is a condition in which a person’s breathing is interrupted during sleep, leading to multiple brief awakenings throughout the night. This can disrupt the quality of rest, leading to feelings of exhaustion the next day.
- Restless Leg Syndrome (RLS): RLS is a neurological disorder that causes an uncomfortable sensation in the legs, often described as a creeping or crawling feeling. This can make it difficult to fall asleep or stay asleep, leading to unrefreshing sleep.
- Chronic Fatigue Syndrome (CFS): CFS is a complex disorder that causes extreme fatigue and a host of other symptoms, including unrefreshing rest. People with CFS often wake up feeling exhausted, even after a long night of rest.
- Fibromyalgia: Fibromyalgia is a condition that causes widespread pain, fatigue, and other symptoms. People with fibromyalgia often have difficulty resting and may wake up feeling tired, even after a full night’s sleep.
- Depression and Anxiety: Depression and anxiety can cause a range of sleep disturbances, including difficulty falling asleep, waking up frequently during the night, and waking up feeling unrefreshed.
Meanwhile, there might also be other benign causes of this:
- Your rest needs more than the time you’ve slept: People always say that 7-8 hours of sleep is good enough. However, different people have a different need. Maybe you just need that extra hour to be refreshed!
- Frequent wake-ups: If you happen to wake up frequently during the night, your real sleeping time is probably much less than the total amount of time you spent in bed.
- Sleep debt: If you continue to rest 5-6 hours in the past few days, it’s unlikely that a single night of good sleep can bring you energy.
As echoed by this year’s theme: Sleep is Essential for Health, it’s an indispensable part of our daily life, and millions in the world suffer from insomnia. Click on the World Sleep Day website to learn more about the event and have a look at some of the toolkits to help you build a better sleeping plan. In a separate article, MCA has brought 6 natural remedies to help with insomnia, they might as well work for you!