World Sleep Day 2024: Sleep Equity for Global Health

World Sleep Day 2024 is an opportunity to promote sleep health alongside thousands of other sleep health professionals and advocates. This initiative aims to promote healthy sleep habits and highlight the significance of quality rest in maintaining overall wellbeing.

The theme for World Sleep Day 2024 is ‘Sleep Equity for Global Health’. Sleep is essential to health, but measurable differences in sleep health persist across populations across the world, creating additional burdens and reinforcing health inequalities.

Healthy Habits for World Sleep Day 2024

Prioritising healthy sleep habits, not only on World Sleep Day 2024 but consistently throughout the year, is crucial for maintaining overall wellbeing.

Here are some ways you can create a healthy sleep routine:

  • Consistent Sleep Schedule:

Maintain a regular sleep-wake cycle by going to bed and waking up at the same time every day. This helps regulate your body’s internal clock, promoting better sleep quality and overall wellbeing.

  • Create a Relaxing Bedtime Routine:

Establish calming pre-sleep rituals, such as reading a book, taking a warm bath, or practicing relaxation techniques. These activities signal to your body that it’s time to wind down, making it easier to transition into a restful sleep.  

  • Optimise Your Sleep Environment:

Ensure your bedroom is conductive to sleep by keeping it dark, quiet, and cool. Invest in a comfortable mattress and pillows to enhance physical comfort and create an inviting atmosphere for rest.

  • Limit Screen Time Before Bed:

Reduce exposure to electronic devices at least one hour before bedtime to minimise the disruptive effects of blue light on melatonin production. Instead, opt for activities that promote relaxation and prepare your mind for sleep.

  • Watch Your Diet:

Avoid heavy meals, caffeine, and alcohol close to bedtime. Opt for a light snack if you’re hungry before sleeping. A balanced diet contributes to overall health and can positively impact your sleep patterns.

  • Regular Exercise:

Engage in regular physical activity but complete your workout at least a few hours before bedtime. Exercise promotes better sleep, but doing it too close to bedtime may energise your body and make it harder to wind down.

Incorporating these habits into your daily routine can foster a healthier sleep pattern and contribute to improved physical and mental wellbeing.

 

Barriers Preventing Sleep Globally

In our fast-paced, modern world, the prevalence of technology has become a significant barrier to sleep. The use of electronic devices, such as smartphones and computers, exposes individuals to artificial light, particularly blue light, which can disrupt the body’s natural circadian rhythm. A study found that 62% of patients took their phones to bed with them, 37% texted after “lights out,” and 1 out of 12 adolescents were woken by a text in the middle of the night at least 2 or more times each week. Increased screen time before bedtime can interfere with the production of the sleep hormone melatonin, making it challenging for people worldwide to achieve restful sleep.

Global stressors and mental health challenges represent another formidable barrier to sleep. One study estimates the annual cost of workplace errors and accidents linked to insomnia at $31.1 billion. The pressures of daily life, work-related stress, and the increasing burden of mental health issues contribute to elevated levels of anxiety and insomnia. Sleep disorders often become both a consequence and a perpetuator of mental health struggles, creating a complex cycle that adversely impacts sleep quality for a significant portion of the global population.

Socioeconomic factors play a crucial role in determining sleep patterns on a global scale. Socioeconomic deprivation is associated with poorer sleep continuity/efficiency. Individuals facing economic hardship may experience inadequate access to healthcare, leading to undiagnosed and untreated sleep disorders. Additionally, those in lower-income brackets may contend with environmental factors such as noisy neighbourhoods or crowded living conditions, making it difficult to establish a conductive sleep environment.

The prevalence of shift work and irregular schedules poses a substantial barrier to healthy sleep. According to a NIH study, an irregular work schedule was found to be associated with both moderate and severe sleep disturbances. Jobs that require night shifts or irregular hours can disrupt the body’s natural circadian rhythm, making it challenging for workers to establish a consistent sleep-wake cycle. They found that compared to people who worked a standard 35-40 hour week, those working 55 hours a week or more had the poorest sleep. This disruption can contribute to sleep disorders, fatigue, and an increased risk of accidents or errors on the job.

A lack of widespread education about the importance of sleep and proper sleep hygiene contributes to global sleep challenges. Many individuals are unaware of the detrimental effects of chronic sleep deprivation or the practical steps they take to improve their sleep. Increasing awareness and disseminating information about the significance of healthy sleep habits are crucial steps in overcoming this barrier. The US National Institutes of Health has developed an electronic bookshelf where more than 135 books on sleep and circadian health can be translated and adapted for national and local contexts with global application, available via the World Sleep Society.

World Sleep Day 2024 aims to address these global barriers through education, awareness campaigns, workplace policies, and societal changes. By recognising and actively working to mitigate these challenges, individuals and communities can strive towards a world where quality sleep is accessible and prioritised for overall wellbeing.

Importance of Good Sleep Quality

Quality sleep influences various aspects of life and work and can contribute significantly to a healthy lifestyle.

Here are some benefits of good sleep quality:

  • Cognitive Function and Productivity:

Quality sleep is essential for optimal cognitive function and productivity. Sleeping 7–8 hours per night increases productivity by 20%, while sleeping fewer than 5 hours decreases productivity by 29%.  Adequate rest enhances concentration, problem-solving abilities, and overall mental clarity, allowing individuals to perform at their best in both personal and professional endeavours.

  • Emotional Wellbeing and Stress Management:

Good sleep quality plays a pivotal role in emotional wellbeing and stress management. Research shows 43 percent of people aged 13–64 have reported lying awake at night due to stress at least once. A well-rested mind is better equipped to handle daily stressors, promoting emotional resilience, and reducing the risk of mood disorders. Consistent, quality sleep fosters a positive mental outlook and emotional stability.

  • Physical Health and Immune Function:

Quality sleep is intricately linked to physical health and immune function. Research suggests that sleep strengthens immune memory. During sleep, the body undergoes crucial repair and restoration processes, strengthening the immune system. Chronic sleep deprivation has been associated with increased susceptibility to illnesses and a higher risk of chronic health conditions, highlighting the importance of sleep for overall wellbeing.

  • Creativity and Problem-Solving:

The brains ability to make novel connections and find innovative solutions is heightened with sufficient rest. Individuals who prioritise good sleep quality are better equipped to approach challenges with creativity and resilience.

  • Work Performance and Safety:

For optimal work performance and safety, it is imperative to prioritise good sleep quality. Sleep-deprived individuals may experience impaired decision-making, slow reaction times, and increased likelihood of accidents or errors. Prioritising sleep contributes to a safer work environment and more effective professional performance.

Recongising the multifaceted benefits of good sleep quality, highlights its importance not only for personal wellbeing but also for fostering a positive and productive work environment.

 

 How Can Wellity Support You?

The Secret to Sleeping Soundly

Sleep is very important for everyone, regardless of age. Yet, the number of people of people experiencing sleep-associated problems is on the rise and this has a huge impact on our wellbei8ng and performance. Whilst some can get by on less sleep than others, that does not mean sleep is any less important for them. This session will explore sleep hygiene, chronotypes and simple but effective ways to get a restful and quality nights sleep.

Objectives:

  • Understand the universal significance of sleep irrespective of age.
  • Gain awareness about the escalating prevalence of sleep-related issues.
  • Acquire knowledge on sleep hygiene practices difference.
  • Learn about the impact of chronotypes and ultradian rhythms.
  • Discover strategies that facilitate achieving restful and high-quality sleep.

Disrupting Digital Burnout

The modern working world has been driven by a rapid advancement in technological growth. Over the years the way we communicate in this digital world has transformed working behaviours, compelling workers to be plugged in 24/7 and having a direct correlation with stress, anxiety, and burnout. This session will help attendees to get their sense of work life balance back, redefining their priorities and exploring ways to mentally and digitally switch off, particularly in a hybrid world.

Objectives:

  • Establish the psychological impact of being switched on 24/7.
  • Explore the role of boundaries, non-negotiables, and limits.
  • Discover how to practically switch off when working in a remote/hybrid role.
  • Understand ways to unplug mentally and digitally.

Discover More In Our 2024/25 Workplace Training Brochure

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