World Sleep Day 2023
Hey there sleepyheads! Let’s talk about our favourite thing in the world. No, not peanut butter, but sleep. In our opinion nothing beats bedtime. We spend around a third of our lives in bed, and research has shown that sleep is vital for both our short and long term health and happiness. So fluff up those pillows, throw on your comfiest jammies and settle in for a little snooze-time celebration…
What is World Sleep Day?
World Sleep Day is an entire day dedicated to all things sleep-related, from cosy bedding to those pesky little sheep that help us count our way to dreamland. You may be thinking that surely every day is a day for sleep? But it’s a sad fact that in today’s fast-paced, digital world many of us don’t prioritise sleep. World Sleep Day’s aim is to raise our awareness about the importance of sleep and promote healthy sleep habits.
‘Why Sleep is Essential for Health’
Our immune system works its magic while we’re asleep, repairing and regenerating while we’re busy snoozing. Sleep deprivation makes our immune cells less effective, therefore leaving us more prone to catching those sniffles. Treating sleep as a priority, rather than a luxury, may also be an important step to keep us healthy long-term by preventing chronic medical conditions, such as diabetes and heart disease.
Sleep yourself slim
For those of watching our waistlines, getting enough sleep is just as important as diet and exercise. Being sleep deprived messes with the hormones in our brains that control appetite, so we feel hungrier and are less able to resist those unhealthy snacks (yes pink-iced cake with sprinkles, we’re talking to you!).
Let’s not forget the most fun part of sleep – dreams! Whether we're flying through the clouds or reliving an awkward situation in the office, dreams play a vital role in helping us process our emotions. A good sleep helps you hit the reset button on a bad day, reducing stress and improving mood and outlook.
While we’re talking brains, let’s not forget that sleep plays a big part in both learning and memory. Our brains need sleep to process what we’ve learned and store our memories away properly, so we can access them later.
Muscle and motivation
It’s not only our brains that slow down when we’re tired; lack of sleep robs us of energy and the downtime our bodies need for muscle repair. We also feel much less motivated and have slower reflexes when we’re sleepy.
Secrets for a Sound Sleep
Experts recommend at least 7 hours sleep for adults but when we talk about ‘a good night’s sleep’ we’re talking quality as well as quantity. Here are some top tips to improve your ‘sleep hygiene’; these are science-backed practices that help create the ideal conditions for healthy sleep, which can mean the difference between a restful night and a restless one.
Comfort is key
You’re much more likely to fall and stay asleep if the conditions are right. Make sure your room is quiet and dark enough – perhaps pop in a pair of earplugs and install some blackout curtains if you need to block out a little more light.
Are you comfortable in bed? If you get a little hot then maybe review your bed linen and pyjamas and make sure that yours are breathable – we recommend natural fibres to wick moisture and regulate body temperature.
Research has shown that a room temperature of 18 degrees is optimal for a sound slumber. Are you too cold in bed? If your duvet is more than 10 years old then it’s probably time to replace it with a new, higher tog one.
Review your routine
Do the groundwork during the day to ensure you’re ready for sleep by night-time. Exercise and exposure to natural light is a great way to energise your body and mind in the morning but also helps balance your hormones in preparation for the evening. Just like babies, adults can too benefit from a good bedtime routine. Allow your body and mind to wind down by soaking in the bath or doing some gentle stretching and remember to avoid the stimulation of screentime during the last hour of the day.
No midnight feasting
Although a night cap might seem like a good idea, alcohol (and caffeine) will often impair the quality of your sleep. Experts recommend having your last caffeinated cuppa as early as 6 hours before bedtime. Eating a heavy meal later in the evening is also a no-no. It takes your body around 3-4 hours to digest a meal and this process can disturb your snooze-time.
Nap with caution
As much as we love a catnap, experts advise that we keep any daytime sleep short (20-25 mins) and avoid it completely if you feel it might be affecting the quality of your bedtime.
Most importantly, if insomnia kicks in, don’t lie in bed tossing and turning. If you are struggling to drift off, keep your bedroom a worry-free spot. Move into another room, have a glass of warm milk (our favourite is oat) or do a gentle screen-free activity, until you feel sleepy enough to try again.
Shhh… is it (Secret Linen Store) bedtime yet?
*Information taken from NHS, Mental Health Foundation and www.headspace.com