More than 88 countries around the world have participated in World Sleep Day. The hashtag #
has been a trending topic on Twitter for the past three years running.
‘Most sleep disorders are preventable or treatable, but less than one-third of affected individuals seek professional help.’
The year 2021 will see the 14th annual World Sleep Day, the slogan for which is ‘Regular Sleep, Healthy Future.’ It calls upon all sleep professionals to advocate and educate the world about the importance of sleep for achieving an optimal quality of life and improve global health.
Dr. Lourdes DelRossoco chairs this important event with Professor Fang Han. This year’s theme focuses on sleep as a pillar of health, connecting regular sleep to a healthier physical and mental state in the future and emphasizing the message that quality of life can be improved with healthy sleep.
Dr. DelRosso expresses, “Sleep medicine physicians do not only treat sleep disorders, we also have a responsibility to promote sleep health. We know that regulating the time you go to sleep and wake up each day is associated with better sleep quality and length. Regular sleep is a great way to start off each day in a healthy way—paving the way for a healthier future.”
Professor Fang Han, states, “We can apply the following principles to achieve regular sleep. First, exposure to natural daylight helps set the body clock. Second, building more activity into everyday life and keeping regular exercise. Third, switching off fully before bedtime will allow for relaxation. Finally, having positive emotions will help with a better overall health and wellbeing, as well as good sleep.”
Three Elements of Good Quality Sleep
According to the World Sleep Society, the three elements of good quality sleep are
- Duration: The length of sleep should be sufficient for the sleeper to be rested and alert the following day.
- Continuity: Sleep periods should be seamless without fragmentation.
- Depth: Sleep should be deep enough to be restorative.
Link Between Sleep and COVID-19
- Sleep is adversely affected in both patients and frontline health care workers (HCW).
- Sleep dysfunction is common in patients admitted to the ICU under normal circumstances but is seen more severely in COVID-19 ICU patients and others as well as those in non-COVID-19 units.
- It is important to be aware of impaired sleep quality and other sleep dysfunctions in HCWs as it can affect their judgement in patient care.
- Timely investigation can improve sleep and the short as well as long-term consequences of sleep disruption.
- Recent studies have shown that the sleep hormone melatonin may be beneficial for COVID-19 treatment by decreasing oxidative stress, inflammation, and the immune response, particularly in patients with Obstructive Sleep Apnea (OSA ) who have already activated pathways.
- Melatonin may also improve sleeping quality, which might also be beneficial for better clinical outcomes for COVID-19 patients.
- Comorbidities of OSA patients are shared with COVID-19 patients so, it’s crucial to ensure that OSA patients receive effective Continuous Positive Airway Pressure therapy if they contract the COVID-19 infection.
Healthier Sleep in Adults
The World Sleep Society recommends 10 steps to achieve healthy sleep.
- Establish a regular bedtime and waking time.
- If you are in the habit of taking siestas (short nap), do not exceed 45 minutes of daytime sleep.
- Avoid excessive alcohol ingestion 4 hours before bedtime, and do not smoke.
- Avoid caffeine 6 hours before bedtime. This includes coffee, tea and many sodas, as well as chocolate.
- Avoid heavy, spicy, or sugary foods 4 hours before bedtime. A light snack before bed is acceptable.
- Exercise regularly, but not right before bed.
- Use comfortable, inviting bedding.
- Find a comfortable sleep temperature setting and keep the room well ventilated.
- Block out all distracting noise and eliminate as much light as possible.
- Reserve your bed for sleep and sex, avoiding its use for work or general recreation.
- World Sleep Day – (worldsleepsociety.org)
- World Sleep Day March 19, 2021
- Toolkit – (worldsleepday.org)
- Healthier Sleep in Adults – (worldsleepday.org)