World Sleep Day is on Friday, March 19, 2021. The slogan for the 14th annual World Sleep Day is ‘Regular Sleep, Healthy Future.’ stable bedtimes and rise times are associated with better sleep quality in young, middle-aged adults, and seniors. Regular sleepers have better mood, psychomotor performance, and academic achievement. It is important to remember that sleep is involved with many physiologic systems such as memory consolidation, control of inflammation, hormone regulation, cardiovascular regulation and many other important functions, therefore insufficient sleep duration and poor sleep quality will be associated with several significant adverse health outcomes. Reduced sleep duration has been shown to cause impairments in cognitive and executive function, while poor sleep has been associated with poor mental health. People around the world are experiencing increased levels of stress and anxiety due to the economic and societal impacts of the coronavirus pandemic. And with stress, comes insomnia. In fact, according to a recent report, the use of antidepressant, anti-anxiety, and anti-insomnia medications spiked 21 percent between February and December 2020.
70% report they are experiencing one or more new sleep challenges since the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic, with 43% saying waking up during the night is a challenge. 37% say the pandemic is negatively impacting.
Stress is the top barrier to a good night’s sleep (24%). In addition to the pandemic, people are most worried/stressed about financial challenges (53%) and work responsibilities (44)
Insomnia is a disorder characterized by repeated difficulty with either falling or staying asleep, despite adequate opportunity, condition and time to do so. Chronic insomnia leads to higher risks of developing obesity, diabetes, cardiovascular disease, hypertension, anxiety and depression. Further, people who frequently have trouble sleeping typically complain of impaired daytime functioning. Breathing exercises, meditation, mindfulness and other practices that focus on self-management of sleep offer opportunities for further enriching our lives
Patterned breathing may be worth a try:
Find a place and body position in which you can truly relax, and potentially drift off to sleep
With eyes closed, breathe in for about four seconds – whatever feels comfortable
Hold that breath for about seven seconds – slightly longer than the breath in
Exhale continuously for about eight seconds – ever so slightly longer than you held it.
Repeat for at least four full breaths, until reaching a state of deep relaxation or fall asleep
9 steps to achieve healthy sleep/sleep hygiene
Fix a bedtime and an awakening time.
If you are in the habit of taking a 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 bedding.
Find a comfortable temperature setting for sleeping and keep the room well ventilated.
Block out all distracting noise and eliminate as much light as possible.
- Dr. VV. Ramana Prasad
KIMS Hospitals, Sec-bad