World Sleep Day 2019

World Sleep Day 2019® is designed to raise awareness of sleep as a human privilege that is often compromised by the habits of modern life (BSS, 2019).

World Sleep Day is an annual event, intended to be a celebration of sleep and a call to action on important issues related to sleep. These include medicine, education, social aspects and driving. It is organized by the World Sleep Day Committee of World Sleep Society (founded by WASM and WSF). It aims to lessen the burden of sleep problems on society through better prevention and management of sleep disorders.

Habits of modern life!

The British Sleep Society (BSS) describes sleep as often compromised by the habits of modern life. Evolution has designed us to repair and renew ourselves overnight. Before the invention of modern lighting our sleep was much more in line with the ebb and flow of daylight. With mobile phone and tablet technology our ability to sleep has declined, despite updated features of light reduction on our devices.

It is not all to do with screen technology however! Have our priorities changed? Is it now more important to keep abreast with social media and communications than it is to sleep? Do our youngsters understand that late-night checking of their phones induces anxiety? Not only from what they are seeing but also because they are missing crucial sleep? Our teenagers go through a huge period of brain development and pruning and this is enhanced by REM sleep. Missing out on this REM sleep can deprive them of the social and emotional development they need to navigate their complex media worlds.

Not just youngsters!

In my work as a sleep practitioner I am seeing many adults who are struggling to sleep throughout the night. The main reason stated for this is a racing mind and worry about the day ahead. This self-perpetuates and can easily become a habit of not being able to sleep well. Our motivation to sleep is there as most adults recognise sleep as important, but perhaps our motivation to make changes to our lifestyles has not caught up?

What can we do to promote better sleep?

Make a good sleep a priority in the workplace – request more flexible hours perhaps or consider input from a sleep practitioner such as myself to improve employees sleep

Remember sleep hygiene and bedroom environment

Ask for help for ongoing insomnia and techniques to help with this

And finally look at your motivation to improve lifestyle and sleep and what might be your barriers to change.

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