World Sleep Day observed to raise awareness on sleep disorders

• The World Sleep Day was observed across the globe on March 15, 2019 with the theme ‘Healthy Sleep, Healthy Aging’.

• The day is observed annually on the Friday before the March Equinox on the Earth, when the subsolar point appears to leave the Southern Hemisphere and cross the celestial equator, heading northward as seen from Earth.

• The key aim is to draw society’s attention to the burden of sleep problems and their medical, educational, and social aspects, which threaten the health or quality of life of as much as 45 per cent of the world’s population.

• The day also aims to raise awareness regarding sleep disorders and promote their prevention and management.

Key Highlights

• The key message for this year’s World Sleep Day is ‘ageing and sleep health’ in the society.

• Healthier ageing and a better understanding of how to sleep better as the age increases is expected to help reduce the overall burden of poor health on society.

• This year the focus is on raising awareness about how important sleep is to improve and maintain one’s future physical and mental health and how the amount of sleep one needs changes with age.

• Most adults require 7 to 8 hours sleep while babies and children need even more sleep for optimal learning and play.

About the Day

• The World Sleep Day is an annual event, intended to be a celebration of sleep and a call to action on important issues related to sleep, including medicine, education, social aspects and driving.

• It has been organised by the World Sleep Day Committee of the World Sleep Society, formerly World Association of Sleep Medicine (WASM World Sleep Society), since 2008.

• Through the observation, the World Sleep Society aims to raise awareness of sleep disorders and their better understanding and prevention and reduce the burden of sleep problems on society.

• It is estimated that sleep deprivation costs the US over $400 billion a year with Japan losing $138 billion, Germany $60 billion, the UK $50 billion and Canada $21 billion.

• The first World Sleep Day was held on March 14, 2008. The day is commemorated with events involving discussions, presentations of educational materials and exhibitions, which take place around the world and online.

Some common types of sleep disorders include:

• Insomnia: This type of sleep disorder involves the inability of falling asleep or staying asleep throughout the night.

• Sleep apnea: In this sleep disorder, one experiences abnormal patterns in breathing while sleeping. There are several types of sleep apnea.

• Restless legs syndrome (RLS): This syndrome is a type of sleep movement disorder, also called Willis-Ekbom disease, which causes an uncomfortable sensation and an urge to move the legs while one is trying to sleep.

• Sleep bruxism: It is again a sleep-related movement disorder, which involves clenching or grinding of teeth during sleep. People who have this disorder are more likely to have other sleep disorders, such as snoring and pauses in breathing (sleep apnea).

• Hypersomnia: This is a kind of disorder in which a person has trouble staying awake during the day. This includes narcolepsy, a condition characterised by extreme sleepiness during the day and falling asleep suddenly during the day. People with a hypersomnia may fall asleep at times that are inconvenient or even dangerous, such as at work or while driving

• Parasomnia: The disorder involves acting in unusual ways while falling asleep, sleeping or waking from sleep, such as walking, talking or eating.

• Circadian rhythm disorders: The disorder involves problems with the sleep-wake cycle. They make one unable to sleep and wake at the right times.

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Mains Paper 2: International

Prelims Level: World Sleep Day

Mains Level: Sleeping benefits and other highlights

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