World Sleep Day

World Sleep Day

Every year, on the Friday before the Spring Vernal Equinox, World Sleep Day celebrates sleep and helps the important issues related to sleep such as medicine, education, social aspects and driving get some much-needed airtime. World Sleep Day has drawn attention from media and celebrities around the globe over the years, including having the hashtag #WorldSleepDay be a top trending topic on Twitter for the past three years running.

Organized by the Committee of World Sleep Society, the aims are to lessen the burden of sleep problems on society through better prevention and management of sleep disorders. With better understanding of how we all can improve our sleep habits; we can develop better ways of aiding those who still struggle with sleep.

With that being said, we all do things we know will negatively affect our sleep, yet we still complain that we “didn’t get any sleep last night.” Smartphones may be a big part of our lives, but did you know 1 in 2 people, as soon as they wake up in the night, instantly check their phones? Or that 37% of adults admit to checking their smartphone five minutes before going to bed (Ofcom)?

Checking on loved ones is one thing, but just absent-mindedly scrolling through Instagram or TikTok is another thing entirely. The internet and social media are the biggest distractions to sleep and accounts for a lot of those “how is it 2am?!” moments and very weary mornings.

For some reason, 1 in 4 of us don't silence our phones before sleep. Perhaps this is because we also use it as an alarm clock, perhaps it's because we don't want to be uncontactable in case of emergency. Whatever it is, it leaves us vulnerable to broken sleep.

It’s not just the activity of using your phone before bed that could disrupt your sleep, it’s also the effects of the light coming from the screen. The so-called “Blue light” has the shortest wavelength on the spectrum of visible light, meaning it produces more energy than other light waves. Because this light is part of sunlight, it can trick your brain into thinking it's still daytime. As a result, your brain produces less melatonin — the sleep hormone — so your body will fight to keep itself awake and you might find it harder to drop off as a result.

What You Can Do

Limit screen time

We get it. Not everyone can just drop their phone as soon as they get into bed. Some people need a TV on to help them drift off to sleep and we respect that. But ideally you should be limiting your phone usage an hour before your head hits the pillow, according to The Sleep Council. Alternatively, most smartphones now come with a night shift mode that adjusts the light from your screen into a warmer, yellow/red light, which is less disruptive to your sleep patterns.

Blue light glasses

Blue light glasses (also called computer glasses) contain yellow-tinted lenses that reduce the amount of blue light that enters your eyes. A study conducted by researchers at the University of Toledo to test the efficiency of amber tinted lenses found that participants using the glasses up to three hours before bedtime reported a better quality of sleep compared to the control group.

You could also be getting bad sleep due to accidentally doing things that totally mess up your sleep.

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