March 16

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#WorldSleepDay 2018: Building Awareness, Inspiring Action

By Rachel Haverkos

March 16, 2018


If you have sleep issues, likely you’re aware of sleep. And how badly you feel when you’re not sleeping well.

Otherwise, you may not notice sleep. You take it for granted.

You may even think it’s an annoying inconvenience. After all, you have “important” things to do.

For myself, I’m very aware of sleep. Have been for awhile. But I still did not know about the following event - until recently.

Friday, March 16, 2018 is the 11th Annual World Sleep Day

Who Knew?

What’s more, this commemorative day happens to fall within the USA’s “National Sleep Awareness Week.” Wow! Now the value of sleep is in the limelight.

Interestingly, this coincides with our Spring Time change, when many of us feel  the effects of an hour of sleep deprivation.

How did you feel this past Monday – had you heard recommendations about preparing for the time change in advance? Or, were you caught off guard? If you’ve been struggling to adjust, or dealing with sleep issues (your own or someone else’s), these special Sleep events are for you.

What is #WorldSleepDay?

World Sleep Day is a global effort to build awareness of how important sleep is, how many people have issues with sleep, and what can be done about it.

Here are some statistics as shared by World Sleep Day: 

71,000 people suffer injuries every year due to sleep-related accidents.

1,550 people die because of sleep-related accidents.

46% of individuals with frequent sleep disturbances report missing work or events, or making errors at work, compared to 15% of healthy sleepers.

And, we know that the Monday after we spring forward to daylight savings time, there are more injuries, heart attacks and accidents than other days of the year.

Inspiring Action: 11 Steps You Can Take Today
(Just Choose 1 At A Time, Though!)

For myself, I find it exciting to see the awareness of sleep growing throughout the population.

Dr. Matthew Walker’s groundbreaking book, “Why We Sleep” no doubt contributes to this elevation of sleep’s status from annoyance to valued elixir. As a refresher about the value of sleep, I captured just a few of it’s benefits in this article…

This new awareness is great, yes. And it’s even more powerful if it gets turned into action.

Here are some suggestions to get you started.

1. Are there things you’d like to know about sleep? World Sleep Day provides useful information in a digestible form. See here.

2. Want more in-depth knowledge? Pick up Dr Walker's book and commit to reading a page a day.  

3. Do you snore or wake up gasping for air?  Check out “Sleep Interrupted” by Dr. Steven Park, and consider how his ideas apply to you.

4. Do you love to stay up late and hate to get up early? If so, this is probably genetically wired. There’s not something wrong with you. See Dr. Breus’ quiz that talks more about this.

5. If you’re a night owl, try to find work where you can start later, and end later. Experts such as Dr. Breus say you’ll be more productive, happier and healthier.

6. Are you able to get outside into the sun regularly? If not, consider lightbulbs that help mimic morning and evening light. See here for a review.

7. Do you wish schools started later? Dr. Walker supports this idea, and commends schools in Edina, Minnesota, for moving the start time from 7:25 am to 8:30 am. A year after this change, average Scholastic Assessment Test (SAT) scores rose by 212 points among top students.

8. Have you tried everything, and you still can’t sleep? If so, you may want to consider the effects of hidden toxins. Dr. Joseph Pizzorno’s new book “The Toxin Solution” can help; I’m reading it now.

9. Are you tempted to cut corners on your sleep tonight, and stay out late, in honor of the weekend?  Instead you may want to commit to your usual bedtime, as an alternate way of celebrating. Sleep is worth it!

10. Do you have sleep problems? If so, you may want to forget the “Saturday Sleep In.” The #1 rule many sleep experts give is to wake at the same time every day, regardless of how you slept or the day of the week. Yup, even on Saturdays.

11. Do you sense that your brain could use a “tune up?” If yes, you may wish to try brain training. Click here for more information about Neurofeedback, and how you can train your brain at home. This has greatly improved sleep for many.

Which action item will you choose for celebrating World Sleep Day (now that you know about it)? I’d love to hear.

If you feel stuck, or would like some help knowing where you should start with your sleep issues, please feel welcome to click to be taken to my “Let’s Talk” page. I’m here to help.

Rachel Haverkos

About the author

Rachel’s background in occupational therapy and health coaching contribute to her lifelong interest in brain health. People wanting to stay sharp hire her to help protect & enhance their brain, because they want to avoid dementia but don’t know how. So she gives them the knowledge, clarity, and confidence needed to be their vibrant best self, for life. Through Vibrant Brain For Life, she shares evidence-based tools, strategies, and resources online and in person. When not at her desk, she’s likely enjoying the wildflowers of Sedona, or greeting guests at her Airbnb.

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