This year’s World Sleep Day is recognising important issues relating to sleep, including medicine, education, social aspects and driving, on Friday 16 March. The 11th annual World Sleep Day is organised by the World Sleep Society and prompts individuals to learn how to get a good night’s rest. World Sleep Day is held the Friday before Spring Vernal Equinox of each year.

Sleep is a crucial component to a healthy lifestyle, much like eating a healthy diet and getting enough exercise. An uninterrupted night’s rest benefits both our mental and physical health. Experts say it may lower blood pressure, and reduce the risk of diabetes, obesity and other chronic diseases. Yet far too many individuals wake up tired and rely on a morning expresso or an afternoon sugar fix to power through the day. According to the World Sleep Society, duration (long sleep), continuity (uninterrupted sleep), and depth (deep sleep) are essential components for a successful rest.

World Sleep Society recommends ways in which people can enjoy a more restorative rest. First is the maintenance of a bedtime schedule where you should aim for seven or eight hours, beginning at the same time each night. Second, is to set a last call for alcohol. While a glass of wine might make you feel more relaxed at first, it can keep you up later in the night. Reserving your bed for sleep and intimacy, can also help with the process of falling asleep. This means keeping electronics, snacks and games out of the bedroom.

Early morning workouts early in the day rather than at night is also beneficial. Nighttime exercise can raise your heart rate and adrenaline level, making it harder to fall asleep. You should also steer clear of late-night cravings, especially food that is heavy, spicy or sugary. Finally, World Sleep Society states that if you cannot sleep after 20 minutes of lying in bed, get up and try a relaxing activity like listening to soft music.

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