Getting a good night’s sleep is one of the most important things to do for your body and brain to function optimally. A lack of sleep can lead to numerous health-related issues, and makes you tired and irritable throughout the day. People get less sleep than they used to and prioritize other responsibilities over a proper nights sleep. It’s important that we practice proper sleep hygiene to maximize sleep quality.
What is World Sleep Day?
World Sleep Day is celebrated every year on the Friday before the Spring Equinox, which falls on March 17th this year. The goal of this initiative is to draw awareness to the importance of sleep and how critical it is for us to function, and to provide valuable, reliable information about sleep, sleep related disorders, and how to improve sleep quality. The theme behind World Sleep Day 2023 is “Sleep is Essential for Health”. This is meant to emphasize how important it is to get enough sleep not just to prevent fatigue, but to maintain your overall health regarding regulation of hormones that control your weight, appetite, and stress levels. It is generally recommended that we need 7-9 hours of sleep each night, and 8 or 9 is better than 7. Despite this, nearly 33% of people report sleeping less than this on a regular basis.
Interesting Facts About Sleep
Circadian Rhythm: Our bodies are regulated by an internal cycle known as the circadian rhythm. This is an internal clock that regulates our sleep-wake cycle and allows us to stick to a 24 hour day for long periods of time, and sleep when it is appropriate to. The supra chiasmatic nucleus of the hypothalamus is thought to be responsible for most of this functionality. In fact, when this portion of the brain is experimentally removed in animals, the otherwise consistent sleep-wake cycle is completely changed.
Not getting enough sleep can have negative effects beyond just making us tired. Short term lack of sleep can negatively impact your mood, memory, ability to pay attention, and complex thought processes. Long term lack of sleep is associated with increased risk of diabetes, hypertension, and obesity.
Top 6 Tips To Get A Better Night’s Sleep
- Exercise: Getting a moderate amount of exercise regularly has been demonstrated to have a positive effect on sleep quality as well as help you to fall asleep more quickly.
- No screens for at least 1 hour before bed: the blue light from your phone or television tricks your brain into thinking you’re still supposed to be awake, which can make it more difficult to fall asleep. Try putting the phone away earlier in the night for an easier time drifting off to sleep.
- Take a warm bath: Soaking for a few minutes in the warm water will have a calming effect, and also allows you to relax and wind down from the business of the work day.
- Have a routine: Constructing a bedtime routine is a good way to get your mind and body used to getting ready for bed and falling asleep at the same time every night and waking up at the same time every morning.
- Avoid caffeine and alcohol before sleeping: While it is common knowledge that caffeine is a stimulant and can prevent you from falling asleep if ingested too close to bedtime, alcohol can negatively affect your sleep quality, despite its initially sedative effects, as well as make you more fatigued the following day as a result.
- Drink enough water throughout the day so you don’t have to right before you go to sleep.