Whether you like it or not, sleep is a pretty essential part of human existence (given that we spend one third of our lives sleeping). Unfortunately for many it can be a real struggle to get to sleep. This Friday, the 13th of March celebrates World Sleep Day to raise awareness for sleeping disorders and how to better understand improved bedtime habits. The annual event’s slogan this year is: “Better Sleep, Better Life, Better Planet” with the idea stemming from the notion that if we are well rested, we are better equipped to tackle tricky situations, like the climate crisis.
According to the World Sleep Society, increased sleep periods mean less consumption of fuel, electricity, food, and oxygen. Better quality sleep also reduces the risk of labour-related and road accidents, promotes the secretion of melatonin, and protects the natural circadian clock, which can prevent premature aging in humans. So good news for all the sleeper-inners out there.
Wānaka therapist Rachel Bentley has registered as a delegate of the international event. Bentley works throughout the Upper Clutha in a number of roles, but has a primary focus on sleep health, particularly in relation to disorders like insomnia. Sleep problems affect as much as 45 per cent of the global population and some describe it similar to an epidemic.
It’s not all bad news though. Sleep experts say that: the length of sleep should be sufficient for the sleeper to be rested and alert the following day; sleep periods should be seamless without fragmentation; and sleep should be deep enough to be restorative. Sleep should be regular and scheduled, lasting between 7-9 hours for adults.
This Friday gives all of us sleepers time to think, “am I really getting the sleep that I deserve?” A wakeup call perhaps?