This last Sunday was Daylight Saving Time. That also happens to be the first day of Sleep Awareness Week 2019, which lasts through March 16th.
With the spring time change, it’s the perfect opportunity to reset your sleep and set yourself up with good sleep habits for the rest of the year.
Getting better sleep is one of the best things you can do for your health. We run around trying to exercise and try out all the new diets, but when it comes to our health, many of us don’t realize the solution is closer to home. Better health starts with better sleep.
With sleep, you think better, you eat better, and you feel better. You’re less likely to be irritable or lash out at a friend. You won’t forget that bullet point on your work presentation or lose focus during your sports practice. And when you’re sick, sleep can significantly hasten your recovery. There’s even such a thing as beauty sleep!
But we digress.
What is Sleep Awareness Week, and why is it important?
What is Sleep Awareness Week?
Sleep Awareness Week was started by the National Sleep Foundation (NSF), an advocacy group devoted to increasing public education about the importance of sleep. At Tuck, we’re all about that, too. We’re here to give you the resources you need to enjoy deep, restful sleep.
This year, Sleep Awareness Week takes place from Sunday, March 10th, to Saturday, March 16th, 2019. The annual event is designed to increase public awareness and motivate more people to get better sleep.
Each year, in conjunction with Sleep Awareness Week, the NSF shares its Sleep in America poll and quarterly Sleep Health Index. The numbers vary from year to year, but the message mostly stays the same: Americans aren’t getting enough sleep, and they’re not happy about it.
These numbers are backed up by the CDC. According to their data, over a third of Americans aren’t getting enough sleep on a regular basis.
It gets worse. Even though we want more sleep, and we know we need more sleep, we’re not doing anything about it. In their latest Sleep in America poll, the NSF found that 65% of American adults believe sleep impacts their effectiveness the following day (this is true, by the way; sleep affects your mental, physical, and emotional functioning). Unfortunately, only 10% of us are prioritizing getting more of it.
Perhaps more interesting, people who consider themselves “excellent” sleepers are more likely to feel “very” effective when it comes to getting things done every day. There’s a clear relationship between how well we sleep and how productive we feel:
We feel better when we sleep better. Sleep Awareness Week is about helping more of us understand that, and giving us ideas for how we can do it.
How you can celebrate Sleep Awareness Week 2019
Celebrating Sleep Awareness Week is all about getting better sleep for yourself, as well as those around you. Here are four ways to take part this year.
1. Learn about sleep.
Sleep Awareness Week is all about education, right? Get started on your own personal sleep education journey right here at Tuck. A good place to start is with the basics. Learn why we sleep, how we cycle through different stages of sleep, how much sleep we need, and why sleep deprivation can be so dangerous.
2. Practice good sleep hygiene.
Now that you’re armed with all this information, it’s time to put it into action! Devote this week to improving your sleep hygiene.
- Go to bed and wake up at the same time every day, even weekends.
- Keep your bedroom dark, quiet, and cool—around 60 to 67 degrees Fahrenheit.
- Eat healthy during the day, and avoid heavy meals, caffeine, and alcohol past the afternoon.
- Establish a bedtime routine you follow each night before bed, such as brushing your teeth, taking a warm bath, reading a book, or practicing meditation.
- Turn off all your electronics (yes, all of them) at least 1 hour before bed.
3. Track your sleep.
In the practice of learning about sleep, why not take this opportunity to learn more about your sleep in particular? Many people find sleep trackers to be a helpful tool, but if you’re not ready to make that kind of investment, you can get started quickly with a pen and paper or a smartphone app.
Tracking your sleep will help you discover what your sleep habits are: when you go to bed and when you wake up, and how much sleep you actually get (versus how much you think you’re getting). Studies show people tend to think they’re getting more sleep than they really are, which is why we need to be more sleep-aware in the first place!
4. Promote the importance of good sleep.
Each year, the National Sleep Foundation announces a theme for the year’s Sleep Awareness Week, along with a dedicated hashtag to use on social media. Previous themes included “Sleep Better, Feel Better” and “Your Day Begins With Sleep.” This year, the theme is: “Begin with Sleep,” which promotes the benefits of optimal sleep, and the effects sleep has on health, well-being, and safety.
Share your new knowledge on social media and with your friends and family. They’ll be happy to hear your advice for better sleep. Everyone wants to know how they can get more sleep, better sleep, or both!
Keep the momentum going with World Sleep Day 2019
We kick off Sleep Awareness Week with Daylight Saving Time, and it ends with World Sleep Day on March 15, 2019. It’s focused on many of the same principles as Sleep Awareness Week, but it takes place on a global level.
You can post using the #WorldSleepDay hashtag. After that, it’s up to you to practice healthy sleep throughout 2019. Good luck, and sleep well!