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World Sleep Day 2021

11 March 2021

World Sleep Day 2021

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The theme for this year’s World Sleep Day is ‘Regular Sleep, Healthy Future’. The benefits of having a regular bedtime and awakening time are associated with better sleep quality amongst all ages. Furthermore, getting enough sleep can help to improve your mood, reduce stress and lower your risk for serious health problems, like diabetes and heart disease.

The World Sleep Society recommends the following 10 steps to achieve healthy sleep:
1. Fix a bedtime and an awakening time
2. If you are in the habit of taking a nap, do not exceed 45 minutes of daytime sleep
3. Avoid excessive alcohol ingestion four hours before bedtime and do not smoke
4. Avoid caffeine six hours before bedtime - this includes coffee, tea and many sodas, as well as chocolate
5. Avoid heavy, spicy, or sugary foods four hours before bedtime - a light snack before bed is okay
6. Exercise regularly, but not right before bed
7. Use comfortable bedding
8. Find a comfortable temperature setting for sleeping and keep the room well ventilated
9. Block out all distracting noise and eliminate as much light as possible
10. Reserve the bed for sleep and intimacy - don’t use the bed as an office, workroom or recreation room

Sleep disorders
Insomnia means you are regularly unable to fall asleep – or stay asleep – for a long time. This can affect your mood, energy and emotions. One solution to this is cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT). Regular daytime or early evening exercise can also help to overcome insomnia. Do not be tempted to take a nap during the day as this can make it more difficult to sleep at night.
Snoring affects over 40% of the adult population in the UK. It is a breathing problem rather than a sleep problem – and it is more of a problem for the person sharing a room with a snorer! Ways to combat snoring include sleeping on your side, rather than on your back, drinking less alcohol, doing more exercise and/or addressing diet if you are overweight. Nasal strips are also available and may help.

Conclusion
Quality sleep can help to support both mental and physical health, creativity, brain function and living longer. During sleep our brains flush out toxins we have built up during the day, including proteins linked to Alzheimer’s disease.

While insomnia may be caused or increased by physical barriers or lifestyle, such as working shift patterns, having an uncomfortable bed or too much light, it can also be caused by psychological issues and/or worrying about problems that may seem insurmountable. If you have difficulty sleeping why not contact our Health and Wellbeing Service to find out how you can improve your sleep.