Sleep Awareness Week begins on March 14 at the start of Daylight-Saving Time when most Americans lose an hour of sleep. The change to Daylight Saving Time reminds us to make beneficial changes in our sleep routines to improve our sleep health.
Launched in 1998, Sleep Awareness Week is a national public education campaign that celebrates sleep health and encourages the public to prioritize sleep to improve health and well-being. This week in particular we are reminded about the benefits of optimal sleep and how sleep affects health, well-being, and safety.
An interesting study has linked our DNA to sleep preferences. Whether you are a self-proclaimed early bird or consider yourself a late riser, there is actually a scientific reason behind your sleep schedule. Researchers from Oxford University, the Netherlands, and the United States found that your genes partially decide whether you prefer to get up at dawn or sleep in, which they noted in their Sleep Medicine Reviews published study. The team took on an ambitious 36 studies that highlighted the quality and length of participants' sleep.
In fact, they found that 46 percent of your sleep pattern is connected to your DNA. but 44 percent of the quality of your sleep is influenced by DNA, too. Other factors, including lifestyle or your specific environment (like stress or pollution) can impact rest. People shouldn't think poor-quality sleep is just because of our genes and nothing can be done. Lots of things can help, such as getting a consistent routine, avoiding caffeine as the day progresses, and getting exposure to light during the day.
World Sleep Society recommends the following 10 steps to achieve healthy sleep
1. Fix a bedtime and an awakening time.
2. If you are in the habit of taking a nap, do not exceed 45 minutes of daytime sleep.
3. Avoid excessive alcohol ingestion 4 hours before bedtime and do not smoke.
4. Avoid caffeine 6 hours before bedtime. This includes coffee, tea, and many sodas, as well as chocolate.
5. Avoid heavy, spicy, or sugary foods 4 hours before bedtime. A light snack before bed is acceptable.
6. Exercise regularly, but not right before bed.
7. Use comfortable bedding.
8. Find a comfortable temperature setting for sleeping and keep the room well ventilated.
9. Block out all distracting noise and eliminate as much light as possible.
10. Reserve the bed for sleep and personal partner time. Don’t use the bed as an office, workroom, or recreation room.