World Health Day 2023
World Health Day 2023
2023 sees the 75th birthday of the World Health Organisation. To celebrate this milestone, World Health Day 2023’s theme is ‘Health For All’. The goal is to promote health so that everyone, everywhere has access to the highest quality of health care and wellness.
When we think of our health, we often take a general overview. We tend to take our health for granted. Especially in a society where healthcare is so readily available, we don’t appreciate how our actions and lifestyle can impact our health.
There are multiple aspects that contribute to our health as a whole. All these need to work together to enable our bodies to perform their required jobs daily. It is only when one or more of these aspects aren’t fully functioning, that we realise their importance.
Diet and physical activity have long been at the forefront of health campaigns to make sure that we are taking care of ourselves. More recently, mental health has entered the conversation to ensure we are doing all we can to look after our wellbeing. But something that still goes under the radar is our sleep health. We all know what it’s like to feel tired, but the long-term effects of poor sleep health are far more detrimental to our overall health than most people realise. We’re going to have a look at some of the problems that can arise if we are exposed to long term sleep deprivation, as well as some tips to try and combat your sleep troubles.
Without proper sleep health, all the other pillars of our health begin to fail. Short term sleep troubles can be disruptive to our routines, making us less alert and productive but these can be overcome by regaining our required quantities of sleep. Minor illnesses such as coughs and colds, as well as certain social activities are but a few of the many reasons for short term sleep troubles. These can have a knock-on effect for several days but provide a small insight into the implications of longer-term sleep troubles. Energy levels drop, remaining focused can become increasingly difficult, and our eating habits can alter for the worse. This is just magnified by longer-term sleep issues.
If our sleep troubles occur for a prolonged period, we can encounter far greater complications. Managing less than five to six hours of sleep per night has been linked with higher blood pressure levels which in turn can put unnecessary strain on your heart. All the extra strain can manifest itself in more serious cardiovascular problems, such as heart attacks and strokes.
Weight gain and obesity have also been linked with continual sleep problems. Higher cortisol levels (stress hormone) result in increased anxiety, stress and frustration which can often contribute to emotional eating and poor nutritional habits. Ghrelin (hunger hormone) is also associated with long term sleep deprivation, making people feel hungrier. A negative impact on the body’s metabolism and eating habits also occur over time. Tiredness can lead to unhealthy craving and overindulgence, as well as the accompaniment of decreased physical activity. As we know, reduced exercise and increased food intake equals weight gain.
Our mental health is also at risk if sleep deprivation persists. We all feel more irritable if we have a bad night’s sleep, but long-term it has been linked to increased rates of depression and general loss of motivation. Our sleep cycles and mood regulation are both controlled by Melatonin. When our sleep is out of rhythm, our emotions, behaviours, and mood often follow.
Our brains use the time while we are asleep to digest all the information we have received that day. They store the information they deem to be useful and discard the rest. But if we are not getting enough sleep our brain’s ability to process the information is disrupted which can lead to memory loss.
Like the rest of our body, our immune system can only perform at its best with adequate sleep. Prolonged lack of sleep makes us more vulnerable to illnesses we encounter.
Our sleep, or lack of, has a lot to do with hormones and hormone regulation. Fertility is something that can be affected by a lack of sleep for both men and women. Regularly achieving fewer than seven hours of sleep can lead to lower levels of testosterone and the hormones that trigger ovulation, making contraception more difficult.
So, as we’ve seen, if our sleep isn’t right, neither are we! It’s time we began to take our sleep health as seriously as our physical and mental health. Because without it, the other two don’t stand a chance. Sleep is something that we are all capable of improving and the benefits are astonishing. This World Health Day, if we can make a couple of people aware of the benefits and positive impact good sleep can have, then we are moving in the right direction.
5 Tips For Better Sleep
We are creatures of habit, and our body loves nothing more than knowing when it’s going to sleep and waking up. Maintaining consistent bedtimes is the key to allowing your body to know when it needs to release certain hormones to send you to sleep and wake you up.
Ensuring your bedroom is equipped for sleep is paramount. Your sleep space should be dark, quiet, relaxing and at a comfortable temperature. Having a supportive mattress and pillow upon which to rest is also extremely important to give your body the best chance to sleep.
Removing electronic devices from our sleep environment can help prevent us becoming distracted from sleeping. Also, they emit blue light which interferes with your body’s internal clock when it comes to releasing sleep hormones.
- Food & Drink
Avoiding large meals and excessive amount of fluid before bed will give your body a better chance of completing a full, restful sleep cycle. Avoiding caffeine after 2pm has been shown to improve your ability to sleep, as caffeine can linger in your system.
Being physically active during the day can positively impact your ability to sleep. Just try not to do the physical activity too close to the time you plan to sleep as this can have the opposite effect.
Hopefully this has provided you with some useful insights into not only how important our sleep is to our health in general, but also how you can begin to implement some small changes yourself. Spread the message of World Health Day and let’s try to get as many people as possible sleeping well!
If your sleep environment is holding you back from being your best self, why not book an appointment to come and see us at our Warwickshire showroom. A friendly, stress-free space to test out a variety of sleep solutions and obtain advice to help you create your perfect night’s sleep.