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11 strange facts about sleep – World Sleep Day 2020


World Sleep Day 2020

World Sleep Day (WSD) serves as a reminder about how important our sleep actually is. The WDS aims to garner our attention towards how lack of sleep imposes burdens on society.

The World Sleep Society (WSS) is the creator and hosts of WSD. And the Society invests in creating global awareness about the correlation between sleep and health via hosting WSD on an international scale through events.

The Society works with patients, health professionals and researchers to raise awareness about how poor sleep can lead to a myriad of health problems.

Committee member Liborio Parrino is the Chairman of WSD. He is the Associate Professor of Neurology at Parma University, Italy, having MD and PhD degrees.

In 2020, World Sleep Day falls on Friday, March 13, 2020, and is the 13th annual one. The slogan for the 13th Annual World Sleep Day is:

Better Sleep,

Better Life,

Better Planet.

Each year, WSD is celebrated on the Friday before the Spring Vernal Equinox. And like all past years, this year also the WSS is focusing on resolving our sleep problems via effective preventive and curative measures.

11 strange facts about sleep

  1. The majority of sleep-linked issues are treatable and preventable. Even then only less than one-third of victims opt for professional help.

  2. Sleep disorders are comparable to global epidemics that adversely affect the quality of lives of around 45% of the worldwide population.

  3. Research studies indicate that we sleep for one-third of our lives. And like eating and drinking, sleep is a human need and integral to our overall health, both mentally and physically.

  4. Breathing normally when we are asleep is vital for our overall wellbeing. And constant interruption of our breathing function whilst we are asleep is a symptom of sleep apnea.

  5. Sleep apnea patients stop and start breathing repetitively. Feeling sleepy and fatigued during daytime are symptoms of sleep apnea, which is considered to be a serious sleeping disorder.

  6. Greater understanding of sleep conditions and advanced research of sleeping disorders will help in reducing sleep problems while paving the way for a better society.

  7. Poor sleep can give rise to psychological problems. These include psychosis, anxiety, and depression.

  8. Sleep deficiency leads to health issues, both in the short run and long run. All similar, sleep disruptions during the night translate negatively vis-à-vis our attention span, learning ability and ability to recall.

  9. On our part, we can improve the quality of our sleep and health parameters through regular exercise and eating nutritious meals, coupled with sleeping for at least 7 hours during nighttime.

  10. To improve your cognitive health, the doctors suggest you get adequate sleep at night. By doing so, you can enhance your brain functioning in several ways – relating to memory recall, mood, and learning ability.

  11. For carrying out your daily activities effectively, the medical experts suggest enjoying restorative sleep. Further, they opine that quality scores over quantity, pertaining to our sleeping habits.

All about Insomnia – a sleeping disorder

Here are some facts about Insomnia.

  1. People who suffer from Insomnia face difficulty falling or staying asleep.

  2. Insomnia can be acute/short-term or chronic/long-term.

  3. Between 30-45% of the adult population are diagnosed with Insomnia.

  4. Ranging from 1 to 10 percent of the general population and over 25% of adults complain of Primary Insomnia, which has no underlying conditions.

  5. Lack of sleep makes us vulnerable to accidents. Also, Insomnia patients face the risk of having accidents or getting injured as compared to good sleepers. Moreover, they display symptoms of depression and anxiety.

  6. Insomnia causes the patient’s performance at work to take a setback too. And if not treated promptly, they may end up losing their jobs as well.

Why is World Sleep Day honored?

Society members do not understand the importance of sleep. Besides, we lead busy lives without bothering to catch up on our sleep. Also, further due to our 24*7 lifestyles, we sleep for lesser time than required and, consequently, continue to suffer health problems.

To get the spotlight back on getting adequate sleep and, in turn, building a better society, the health researchers thought of celebrating WSD. The overall goal was to get people to understand that if they do not sleep well, their health problems are sure to mount.

Why sleep is important?

Sleeping is important for various reasons. More importantly, sleep maintains a healthy balance of the body hormones. In fact, hormones play an essential role in sleep. And hormonal imbalances causing sleep issues comes as no surprise.

Also, many variables affect our hormonal balance. The foods we consume and bodily toxins have a large role to play where our hormones are concerned.

More so, hormonal changes that women undergo during pregnancy, menopause and puberty affects their sleep quality.

Sure, the medical community will suggest you induce artificial hormonal changes within your body via medicines for sleeping well. However, remember that pharmaceutical drugs can impact functioning of the other hormones in the body.

Now, instead of opting for medicines, consider making lifestyle changes. For the experts warn that unhealthy lifestyle habits can cause sleeping disorders.

Daily exercises are a good way to start to keep healthy. Indeed, exercising is advantageous to health in several ways. Body exertion causes us to sweat, which leads to the expelling of salts, toxins from our body. Plus, you can burn calories and enjoy weight-loss benefits if you exercise regularly. Through exercising, you feel tired and sleep then comes easily too.

Moreover, the body releases endorphins (or the ‘feel-good’ hormones) during exercising. In turn, your mood remains upbeat and mental disorders (such as depression and anxiety) are kept at bay.

More so, note that melatonin is the hormone that induces sleep and melatonin production depends on normal hormone function (serotonin, among others) during our waking hours. Hormone imbalances affect the entire endocrine system, leading to poor sleep and other sleeping disorders.

Besides, stress hormones affect our sleep cycles as well. They both are interrelated. As such, inadequate sleep raises the production of stress hormones, which again leads to sleep problems.

Though, by following a healthy lifestyle pattern, your hormone production normalizes.

How does lack of sleep affect health?

Sleeping benefits health in several ways. And lack of sleep results in health problems, as seen below.

Relating to your physical wellbeing

During sleep, the tissue-repairing process ensues. These include the tissues of the blood vessels and the heart. And inadequate sleep is linked to health troubles such as strokes, hypertension, heart-related disorders, and kidney disorders, among others.

Obesity Issues

If you are suffering from obesity, then the problem may be linked to poor quality sleep. Also, as per studies, each hour of sleep lost heightens the chances of obesity going up.

Affects hormone function

Quality sleep helps to maintain a healthy balance of hormones which induce hunger (ghrelin) or satiate our appetite (leptin). Now, if you do not get enough sleep, your body could face hormonal upheavals. Then, you feel hungrier than usual.

Blood-sugar imbalances

Insulin is the hormone that regulates our blood-sugar levels in the body. Now, sleep affects insulin production. If you are sleep deficient, then your blood-sugar levels will be irregular; thereby, you could suffer serious health problems.

Growth, memory

In addition to the above-mentioned problems, lack of sleep affects growth in children and teenagers; more so, our ability to learn and memory are hampered.

3 Aspects of quality sleep

We have seen that following a healthful lifestyle is key to enjoying good health.

Remember, three aspects constitute quality sleep.

  1. Duration: Sleep enough to feel refreshed the following day.

  2. Continuity: Avoid fragmented sleep and sleep continuously for the recommended daily limit that is 7-9 hours per day.

  3. Depth: Take efforts to enjoy deep, restorative sleep to boost your health.

Now, as part of your healthy lifestyle plans, eat nutritious foods and follow a regular exercise regime. More importantly, make sure that you get sufficient sleep. Everything boils down to your sleep. So, be prudent and never miss your date with your sleep.

Who are the creators of World Sleep Day?

Distinguished members of the medical community are the founders of the WSD. They specialize in the field of sleep medicine and research. In their role as healthcare providers and through holding events, they seek the attention of worldwide audiences to spread the message of healthy sleep. As part of their efforts, they distribute reading material on sleep for raising awareness.

Also, they conduct school events for the young minds to never underestimate the importance of sleep. Other efforts include getting media attention and holding conferences. Promotional videos and press releases are additional ways of honoring WSD.

In all, the founders and supporters of WSD want people to realize that health problems are linked to long term poor sleep quality. And to enjoy good health, you must invest in sleeping soundly. Take whatever measures you have to, for all is worth to have your restful sleep.