World Sleep Day 2020 is coming up on Friday 13 March. This is a global event which provides an opportunity to promote awareness of sleep health around the world.
The theme for 2020 is “Better Sleep. Better Health. Better Planet.” This reflects the position of sleep as a pillar of health (together with exercise and nutrition). Poor sleep is associated with impairments in both physical and mental health, including links with obesity, diabetes, immune system function, learning and memory, mood, anxiety, and overall reduced quality of life. Conversely, improvements in sleep tend to be associated with improvements in all of these areas.
The link between better sleep and the health of our planet may be harder to understand at first glance. According to Dr Liborio Parrino, Chair of the World Sleep Day Committee: “If we really want to contribute to the planet’s survival, a wise activity is to extend the period of our sleep time. That’s why this year’s World Sleep Day slogan connects good sleep to improved planet health.” More specifically, Dr Parrino suggests that longer sleep duration may reduce consumption of fuel, electricity, food and oxygen (as breathing is attenuated during sleep), all of which may have a positive effect on the health of our planet.
At an individual level, better sleep can also result in improvements in decision making, problem solving, and other aspects of cognitive functioning, which may equip us to make better decisions relating to issues of environmental importance.
So this World Sleep Day, I would encourage you to make a commitment to improve just one aspect of your sleep health. Go to bed 30mins earlier. Reduce your consumption of caffeine or alcohol. Develop a pattern of regular exercise (not too close to bedtime). Or make an appointment with your GP to discuss any concerns that you have about your sleep.
Quote from Dr Parrino and other content sourced from: https://worldsleepday.org