March 10th, 2015 – World Sleep Day

Having a hard time getting out of bed in the morning? Pressing snooze more than once to get a couple more minutes of “shut eye” before your day begins? Or you’re noticing it’s becoming more difficult to concentrate on your work throughout the day?

It is very possible that your sleep habits and overall health may be contributing to more than a lack of good quality sleep, but longer term health issues.

On Friday, March 13th, 2015, World Sleep Day will be celebrated all over the globe. This annual event is a celebration of sleep and a call to action on important issues related to sleep.

iSmile - World Sleep Day

This year’s theme is “When Sleep is Sound, Health and Happiness Abound” focusing on insomnia with several other identifying messages. Let’s take a look at each of the statements in this year’s slogan.

Sound Sleep – How do you know if you’re getting sound sleep? 

If you are breathing well, dreaming well and resting well your sleep will be continuous and uninterrupted, deep and of adequate length resulting in restorative sound sleep. If all of these are achieved you should feel alert and rested throughout the day.

If you have the inability to sleep or deal with habitual sleepiness you may have insomnia, which can affect every aspect of your life.

Health Abounds – People with any level of insomnia may not realise all of the health risks that can result from sleeplessness.

There is a higher risk or cardiovascular issues, as well as cognitive and memory deficits; children with insomnia may have learning disabilities and stuff behavioural problems.

Individuals that struggle with getting an entire night’s sleep without any interruptions also experience higher rates of high blood pressure, diabetes, obesity and other chronic illnesses.

Happiness Abounds – Studies have shown that people with insomnia suffer from more symptoms of anxiety and depression than people without insomnia.

The quality of sleep can disturb day to day mood and affect relationships depending on how you socially interact and perform your daily activities.

With better sleep, life will result in a happier life for yourself and also for your colleagues, family and friends. It will also help prevent the aggravation of mental health illnesses.

World Sleep Day 2015

World Sleep Day is organized by the World Association of Sleep Medicine (WASM), an international association whose mission is to advance sleep health worldwide. For practical steps to start your journey toward quality sleep, check out WASM 10 Commandments of Sleep found at www.worldsleepday.org .

10 Commandments for Children
Ages Birth to 12 Years

Sleep is one of the most important contributors to your child’s physical and mental health. Good sleep habits, sleep hygiene, or “sleep health” are alternative terms often used to describe sleep promoting practices. The explanation as to why healthy sleep practices promote sleep is likely to be, at least in part, that they work by improving the regulation of sleep, either by reinforcing the body’s natural circadian rhythms (i.e., timing of light and darkness), or by increasing the drive to sleep.

Other sleep practices help us to associate certain activities (like a bedtime routine) and environments (i.e., the bedroom) with sleep. Healthy sleep behaviors also promote sleep by reducing factors in the environment which are stimulating (like caffeine) and increasing relaxation, making it easier to fall and stay asleep.

Finally, good sleep practices include providing an adequate opportunity for sleep based on age and individual sleep needs an environment that is conducive to good sleep quality and safety.

1. Make sure your child gets enough sleep by setting an age-appropriate bedtime (preferably before 9:00 pm or 21:00 hours) and waketime*.
2. Keep a consistent bedtime and waketime on weekdays and weekends.
3. Establish a consistent bedtime routine and recommend wearing comfortable clothes in bed, including strong absorbing diapers for infants.
4. Encourage your child to fall asleep independently.
5. Avoid bright lights at bedtime and during the night and increase light exposure in the morning.
6. Keep all electronics, including televisions, computers, and cell phones, out of the bedroom and limit use of electronics before bedtime.
7. Maintain a regular daily schedule, including consistent meal times.
8. Have an age-appropriate nap schedule.
9. Ensure plenty of exercise and time spent outdoors during the day.
10. Eliminate foods and beverages containing caffeine, including many sodas, coffee and tea.

*Table of Recommended Sleep Amounts
Age                       Sleep Needed
3 – 12 months    14 to 15 hours
1 – 3 years           12 to 14 hours
3 – 5 years           11 to 13 hours
6 – 12 years         10 to 11 hours
12 – 18 years         8.5 to 9.5 hours

10 Commandments for Adults
10 Commandments of Sleep Hygiene for Adults

In addition to Clinical sleep problems, poor sleep habits can cause poor quality sleep in adults. To help improve overall sleep and wellness, WASM has created the 10 Commandments of Sleep Hygiene for Adults:

1. Establish a regular bedtime and waking time.
2. If you are in the habit of taking siestas, do not exceed 45 minutes of daytime sleep.
3. Avoid excessive alcohol ingestion 4 hours before bedtime, and do not smoke.
4. Avoid caffeine 6 hours before bedtime. This includes coffee, tea and many sodas, as well as chocolate.
5. Avoid heavy, spicy, or sugary foods 4 hours before bedtime. A light snack before bed is acceptable.
6. Exercise regularly, but not right before bed.
7. Use comfortable, inviting bedding.
8. Find a comfortable sleep temperature setting and keep the room well ventilated.
9. Block out all distracting noise and eliminate as much light as possible.
10. Reserve your bed for sleep and sex, avoiding its use for work or general recreation.

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