This month sees two celebratory days: World Sleep Day and the International Day of Happiness. Two days we could do well to pay attention to: we could all be healthier with better sleep1 and, well, surely happiness is what everyone's aiming for?
There are plenty of things going on in our lives to disturb sleep right now. From worry about loved ones, work or perhaps money, to our own physical and mental wellbeing, not to mention the pandemic!
Friday 19th March 2021 is World Sleep Day, a day to highlight the importance of good sleep. This year their theme is ‘Regular Sleep, Healthy Future’ emphasising the value of consistent sleeping and waking times1. Good sleep and good health go hand in hand.
According to the World Sleep Society (WSS), it is estimated that 2 billion people around the world experience insomnia2, but that uninterrupted sleep leads to a lower frequency of obesity, diabetes, chronic illness and high blood pressure2. We are all aware of the benefits of a good night’s sleep, but that doesn’t always make it easier to get one!
So what can we do to help ourselves get better rest? Some simple suggestions from the WSS include ensuring your sleeping environment is conducive to sleep: consider room temperature, noise and light level, and letting in some fresh air1.
Make sure you get enough exercise, though not immediately before bed1 and try to give caffeine a miss 6 hours before sleeping (including chocolate!)1. If worry and anxiety are keeping you awake, investigating ways to help you sleep may be useful, for example, engaging in exercises focusing on your breath3,4.
The day after World Sleep Day is the International Day of Happiness (Saturday 20th March 2021). This year’s motto is 'Keep Calm, Stay Wise, Be Kind’5. To find out more, get involved or sign up for the “10 days of happiness” visit their website: https://www.dayofhappiness.net/#new or Action for Happiness at https://www.actionforhappiness.org.
Individual happiness means different things to different people and we can all ask ourselves what it means to us. Perhaps after our experiences in 2020 priorities may have even changed. Long term happiness is known to contribute to better health6,7 So, if both good sleep and happiness can lead to better health, ensuring we incorporate both in our lives can only be a good thing!
Fran Dunning is a hypnotherapist and mindfulness coach who works with individuals to improve their mental wellbeing. If you’d like to find out more about how these techniques could help you contact on Fran on 07973819867 or visit https://www.francesdunning.com.
If you do suffer from any sleep disorders or you are concerned about your mental and physical health, including insomnia and anxiety, please consult your GP for advice.