World Sleep Day? ‘Fantastic’, we hear you cry! ‘A day when I can just sleep!’
Well no, that’s not quite what World Sleep Day is about, so let us explain. World Sleep Day began in 2008, and this year falls on 13th March, the Friday before Spring Vernal Equinox. It is an annual awareness day for sleep, with a focus on improving sleep. This year the slogan for World Sleep Day is “Better Sleep, Better life, Better planet”.
Sleep Hygiene – The 10 Commandments
Everyone knows that a good night’s sleep is vital if you want to wake up refreshed and ready to face the next day with a clear head and plenty of energy. In practice, however, an alarming percentage of people (around 35%, according to a survey carried out by Phillips), believe that they do not get enough sleep each night. The recommendation is that adults aged 18-64 should be getting between 7-9 hours of sleep each night with this number dropping to between 7-8 hours for those people aged over 65.
If you are not getting enough sleep, then there are some things that you can do that should help. Referred to as Sleep Hygiene, these guidelines have been put together to help prevent short sleep times, poor quality night-time sleep and severe sleep issues in adults.
- Set yourself a regular schedule of times for getting up and going to bed.
- It is okay to sleep during the day, but this should not exceed 45 minutes of napping.
- Do not ingest a large amount of alcohol in the 4 hours before you go to bed; don’t smoke either.
- Avoid caffeine for 6 hours before you go to bed – tea, coffee, some fizzy drinks and chocolate in any form, sorry about that!
- Avoid foods that are spicy, heavy or sugary in the 4 hours before you go to bed. A light snack is, however, fine.
- Regular exercise is good, but again not before bed
- Set a comfortable temperature for your bedroom that is suitable for sleeping and ensure that the room is well ventilated.
- Eliminate as much light as possible, blackout blinds or curtains are great for this and keep distracting noise to a minimum.
- Your bedroom is not an office, a workroom or anything other than a bedroom – reserve it for what it is meant for.
- Make sure that your bed is doing the right job to help you sleep. If your mattress is old and has lost its supportive qualities, then it may be time for a new one.
You should also consider your bedding as well:
Pillows – Do not underestimate the powers of a good pillow. If you have a synthetic pillow, you should be changing your pillow every two years, and washing them every six months where possible, to keep them at their best – see our post ‘How to test if your pillow needs replacing‘ . The Soak and Sleep Re: Down Recycled Pillow or the John Lewis Breathe Standard pillow both represent an excellent investment for good sleep hygiene and score highly in online reviews.
Duvets – The right duvet can really help with a good night’s sleep. It should be neither too hot nor too cold, and machine washable is also a rather handy feature to ensure that your duvet remains hygienic and clean.
With World Sleep Day not so far away, why not make it a day where you put into place all the things that could help you sleep better? You could even organise a ‘sleep event’ – there are plenty of ideas at worldsleepday.org/get-involved/plan.
We’re sure your brain and your body will thank you for it!